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Vision Habilitation and Rehabilitation Specialist Consultation 2022 - (Vision Impairment Specialist Apprenticeship Standard)


Level 5 Apprenticeship Standard for Vision Impairment Specialist  


Thank you for responding to the consultation for the apprenticeship standard for the Vision Impairment Specialist.

It is proposed that this standard will have 2 options:

  • Vision Habilitation Specialist (providing support and teaching children and young people with vision impairment)
  • Vision Rehabilitation Specialist (providing support and teaching adults with vision impairment)

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a real job where the apprentice learns, gains experience and gets paid. Alongside on-the-job training, apprentices spend at least 20% of their working hours completing off the job training, typically with a college, university or training provider which leads to a nationally recognised qualification. Apprenticeships range from Level 2 (GCSE) to Level 7 (Masters), taking between one & six years to complete. More information can be found at:

Apprenticeships are an exciting option for both apprentice and employer. Apprenticeships can help people further their careers or change career direction completely. To become an apprentice, you must:​
  • be 16 or over​
  • not already be in full-time education​
  • live in England​

Apprenticeships are funded from contributions made by the government and employers.  This is known as the Apprenticeship Levy. The Apprenticeship Levy is an amount paid at a rate of 0.5% of an employer’s UK annual pay bill over £3 million. This levy is stored as ‘digital funds’ and employers can use these digital funds on Apprenticeship Training and Assessment.

For employers who do not have an annual pay over £3 million and do not pay the levy the government will pay 95% towards apprenticeship training, unless the apprentice is aged 16-18 and there are less than 50 employees, in which case they fund 100%.  This is all linked into HMRC, for further information visit (

Structure of an apprenticeship standard

An occupational standard is a description of an occupation. It contains an occupational profile and describes the ‘knowledge, skills and behaviours’ (KSBs) needed for someone to be competent in the occupation’s duties.

An occupational standard is a component of an apprenticeship, along with the end-point assessment plan (EPA) and funding band. They are developed by employer-led Trailblazer groups to describe the duties, and KSBs needed to be fully competent in an occupation. Occupational standards must meet the Institute’s occupation criteria DfE apprenticeship standard criteria / Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education

Rationale for developing a standard for this occupation

There has been an apprenticeship standard in place for Rehabilitation Specialists since 2018 which has proven to be a lifeline for the profession.  Since then, approximately 40 new Rehabilitation Specialists have been added to the national workforce. To date however, there is no equivalent for Habilitation staff working with children and young people with a vision impairment (CYPVI) and their families. Due to the similar nature of the KSBs required in each role and the desired outcomes for service users, the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) indicated that a “core and options” apprenticeship standard was appropriate, and this is presented here for consultation.

The Habilitation workforce nationally is known to be scarce, leading to inconsistent service provision: Habilitation is a relatively new discipline, and in many areas a Rehabilitation Specialist is deployed to work with CYPVI; in other areas there is insufficient or even no specialist Habilitation provision in place. One aim of the apprenticeship standard is to raise the profile of Habilitation services and to increase the numbers of new Habilitation Specialists being trained. Ultimately, this will benefit CYPVI and their families by increasing the national availability of staff, consequently driving up the quality, reliability and consistency of a much-needed specialist service. It will also support the long-term sustainability of a profession whose numbers are not increasing as rapidly as required to meet need.

This identified need for a Habilitation apprenticeship coincided with the scheduled review for the Rehabilitation standard. These two objectives therefore ran concurrently and ensured the standard was updated and still fit for its original purpose. The resulting standard promotes a core-and-options model, whereby many of the KSBs are common to both professions, with others being considered specialist to one or the other.

The employer-led Trailblazer group was established to develop this standard and includes representation from statutory and voluntary/charity organisations of varying sizes across England. Employers designed the standard that identifies all the KSBs that a Habilitation or Rehabilitation Specialist would be expected to demonstrate on qualification, or on arrival into their organisation. This is achieved by a period of academic and practical learning and evaluated via the End-Point Assessment process. 

Please download the standard here before you start so that you can refer to it whilst you are completing the survey.

How long will it take to complete the survey? It should take in the region of 5 - 15 minutes.

What is the deadline for responding to the online survey? The deadline for the consultation is 9.00am on Monday 12 September 2022.

Thank you for taking part.