Vocational Programs

Vocational Program

NRS also offers a wide range of programs specifically designed to help people contribute through paid or non-paid work. The following chart highlights the stages in the vocational rehabilitation process.

Vocational Assessments


A comprehensive range of standardized and functional assessment tools are utilized to evaluate each client’s cognitive and behavioural “work” skills (i.e. perception, attention, memory, organization and planning, and interpersonal skills). Some of the assessment batteries from which the therapist may choose include:

  • Cognitive Competency Test (C.C.T.)
  • Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery – Revised
  • The Rivermead Behavioural Memory Test
  • Peabody Individual Achievement Test – Revised (P.I.A.T.-R.)
  • Diagnostic Screening Test (D.S.T.): Math, Reading subtests
  • O.S.O.T. Perceptual Evaluatio
  • Motor-Free Visual Perception Test (M.V.P.T.)

As well, during the administration of all standardized vocational assessments, our experienced staff make astute observations regarding the cognitive and behavioural abilities which would impact the client’s on-the-job performance. Every attempt is made to simulate the cognitive and behavioural skills necessary for successful completion of a job in order to ensure valid and realistic measures of the client’s performance.

NRS offers:

  • Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE)
    Standardized assessment tools are used to measure physical tolerance abilities related to strength, endurance, speed and flexibility. General physical factors or physical components related to the demands of a specific job may be assessed.
    Duration: One half day to two full days depending on the individual’s activity tolerance.
  • Vocational Aptitudes, Interests and Abilities Evaluations
    This is a standardized assessment of an individual’s specific or general work related and academic/cognitive levels, usually administered over a two-day period. Areas targeted include reading, spelling and arithmetic abilities, reasoning development, and overall learning ability and style. Interest inventories are administered to reveal a client’s preferred vocational activities. Standardized work samples are used to further assess functional skills.
    Duration: One to three days
  • Transferable Skills Analysis
    Occasionally, an individual is unable to perform his/her previous job for various reasons. Key skills acquired in a previous occupation(s) may be present in other jobs, which the individual is capable of performing. To determine this, a Transferable Skills Analysis is administered, with or without the Vocational Aptitudes and Abilities Evaluation.
    Duration: One half day.
  • Labour Market Surveys
    An analysis of the local job market is undertaken to evaluate the feasibility of alternative employment options as identified in the above components of the vocational assessment.
    Duration: Two to four hours.
  • Job Site Analysis
    A job site analysis is a critical step in both the assessment and placement process. The analysis includes an assessment of job duties, physical demands, and work environment, and provides information regarding previous abilities and whether the work or workplace may be modified to accommodate the injured worker.
    Duration: One half day.
  • Situational Assessments
    The situational assessment is performed in a controlled, “real life” environment and serves as an appraisal of the injured individual’s ability to do productive work. This component of the assessment reflects aspects of an individual’s ability to function in a particular work environment including: work habits, level and type of instruction required, reactions to job pressures, co-worker relationship, quantity and quality of work, and physical ability to perform the job.
    Duration: One to two days.
Return to Work



Testing may indicate that the individual needs further occupational therapy, physiotherapy, counselling or speech-language therapy before moving on to a work trial, job search or work site programming. For example, a factory worker may be advised to continue with his physiotherapy program as he has insufficient strength and endurance to return to his work.

Alternatively, the team may recommend that the client select and successfully complete an academic or vocational upgrading program before attempting a return to work. Our team will work closely with the program staff to help the client develop the specific skills and strategies he or she needs to return to work (e.g. attention, organization, reasoning and new learning).


Before the client seeks permanent employment, a community work trial may be indicated. The objective is to assist the individual to refine his specific work skills and to improve his or her work tolerance in a real work environment. Typical work trial “sites” include volunteer organization placements, sheltered workshops or other work hardening programs, and temporary work station placements.

Our job coaches, under the close supervision of our Occupational Therapists and Vocational Counsellors, assist the client in finding the appropriate “site” and provide “on-site” programming, as required.


When the individual is ready to return to work, he or she may need assistance to find and secure a job. Elements of this phase may include job search skills, resume writing, interview skills, etc.


The final phase in the return to work continuum occurs when the client is ready to return to his/her previous occupation, or has obtained a new job. In order to make the transition into this final stage, as with other phases, support is essential. The therapist meets with the employer to provide education regarding the individual’s strengths and weaknesses, and to suggest work site modifications. It may be necessary for a gradual increase in the job hours and demands. Where appropriate, a job coach is used in this phase of the return-to-work process to ensure the client is able to apply the compensatory strategies he or she has learned, to assist in task follow-through, to provide feedback, and to reinforce or modify behaviours. Ongoing assessment and follow-up is crucial in order to ensure ongoing success in the workplace.