Mr Perrottet said the NSW Government would continue to fund the Lifetime Care and Support Authority’s (LTCSA) In-Voc Program for an additional five years, following an almost tripling of return to work rates during a pilot program.
“The period after an injury can be an anxious and challenging time for the person, their family and friends,” Mr Perrottet said.
“In-Voc provides people with a serious or catastrophic spinal-cord injury with the best possible opportunity to return to meaningful and rewarding work after leaving hospital.
“The Program offers vocational counselling, return to work solutions and support to people who have suffered serious spinal-cord injuries to help them return to their pre-injury employer or explore a new career path before they leave hospital.
“In partnership with CRS Australia and the spinal injury units at Royal North Shore Hospital, the Prince of Wales Hospital and the Royal Rehab, In-Voc involves a vocational consultant working with each person and undertaking a comprehensive vocational rehabilitation assessment to identify barriers, solutions and initiatives to facilitate a return to work.
“In-Voc ensures participants are given every opportunity to investigate and explore rewarding work or study options.”
Mr Perrottet said since commencing, In-Voc had achieved outstanding return to work and training rates for adults with spinal cord injuries.
“More than 50 per cent of all In-Voc participants have returned to work or training after 12 months in the program, with almost two thirds returning to work or training after 24 months in the program,” the Minister said.
“This is significantly above the national average return to work rate after spinal cord injury of 30.8 per cent and a major improvement on LTCSA’s previous return to work rate of 20 per cent for people with a spinal cord injury.
“These results are important because studies have proven that returning to work after a serious injury is beneficial for mental and physical health and is the reason why the NSW Government is committed to supporting those injured at work or the community to get back to meaningful and rewarding work as soon as possible.”
Newcastle resident Tim Hays, 28, suffered a serious spinal injury when he was hit by a car in 2013.
Prior to his injury, Tim worked as a surveyor for technical, professional and construction services provider, Jacobs. Tim participated in the In-Voc Pilot Program and used it to re-train in an office-based role as a spatial analyst at Jacobs.
“I had access to the In-Voc Program while in the acute spinal ward at the Royal North Shore Hospital,” Tim said.
“The In-Voc program helped to start discussions with my employer to identify if a suitable role might exist.
“Once an office based role was identified, the In-Voc consultant helped facilitate vocational rehab into the overall rehabilitation plan, including job specific training and a staged return to work.
“I’d recommend the In-Voc program to anyone who has suffered a serious or catastrophic spinal-cord injury as it offers pathways to meaningful and rewarding work after you leave hospital.”
Mr Perrottet said he hoped more businesses would get involved in the program.
“I’d like to commend Jacobs for their flexibility and willingness to be open to the program,” he said. “Getting injured workers back to work is good for them, good for the community and good for the economy.”