Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.

Vocational rehabilitation

What is vocational rehabilitation? 

Vocational rehabilitation refers to any intervention aimed at reducing the high unemployment rates in people with schizophrenia and other severe mental illnesses. Vocational rehabilitation may have wide-reaching benefits, including improved symptoms and personal achievement, and reduced ongoing health care costs. Two key approaches for rehabilitation are prevocational training and supported employment. Prevocational training aims to increase employability by providing community-based preparation before people enter into the competitive workforce (employment that is paid at competitive, or award wages); examples include “clubhouses”, transitional employment, work crews, and skills training. Supported employment aims to assist people with schizophrenia find and maintain a job by placing them in employment within the community (without preparation), and providing training on location as well as ongoing support.

What is the evidence for vocational rehabilitation?

High quality evidence suggests supported employment is more effective than prevocational training for increasing long-term competitive employment rates. Moderate to high quality evidence suggests supported employment provides greater benefit than standard vocational services for attaining competitive employment, increasing the number of hours/weeks worked, total earnings, and reducing time to employment. High quality evidence suggests fewer hospital admissions after prevocational training compared to standard community care, but no differences in employment rates (from moderate quality evidence). Moderate to high quality evidence indicates prevocational training in combination with psychological therapy is more effective for improving employment rates than prevocational training alone. Moderate to low quality evidence suggests supported employment in combination with assertive community treatment improves employment rates compared to standard care. Moderate quality evidence favours paid prevocational training over unpaid prevocational training for increasing employment rates and program participation, and reducing hospital admissions.

Also see the Course and Outcomes employment topic.

June 2016

Page last updated: 23:20  6 September 2017

To view documentation related to this topic download the files below