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Spencer Rathborne named as Vocational Case Manager of the Year

We're delighted to announce that Spencer Rathborne has been named as Vocational Case Manager of the Year at the 2019 CMSUK Awards in London.

Spencer is a well respected, experienced vocational case manager who works tirelessly to support people following catastrophic injury to return to work or find new opportunities that are meaningful and rewarding post-injury.

Here's some of Spencer's feedback and just one example of his great work...

Spencer has been working with our son for several months. He has supported him to find work, liaising with HR and his manager to ensure that his duties are appropriate and that our son is successful in what he does. Throughout this time Spencer has liaised with us, going above and beyond to ensure the success of his employment. We have been impressed by the way Spencer has been committed to checking in with our son and his manager to ensure the success of this venture. Spencer’s involvement has taken a huge burden off us and we are very grateful for his dedication and expertise in this area. (Clients parents)


I would like to say that I have found Spencer to be very thorough in his approach to VR rehabilitation and I am very impressed with his work and the results he achieves for clients. (Claimant solicitor)


Spencer is above all a caring and professional vocational case manager. He is able to maintain focus at all times on his primary client but is also sensitive to the wishes and feelings of those supporting the client. He has worked extremely well with our client, his family, treating team and employer to achieve some wonderful results. The quality of my client’s life has improved significantly and he has been able to develop a trusting professional relationship with Spencer that has supported him in developing his options in life further than we could have hoped for. (Clinical Case Manager)


Spencer received a referral from the clinical case manager in May 2018 for a 19 year old client who sustained a traumatic brain injury aged 3 sustained a right temporal lobe contusion and a small bleed to the corpus callosum. This left him with cognitive deficits, behavioural impairments as well as a mild left sided weakness. It was the opinion of the MDT that he may not be able to sustain any employment and they were also working on an independent living trial.

To ensure the clients vocational needs were identified in a timely manner Spencer completed the following actions immediately after accepting the instructions:
• Reviewed all formal instructions/ documents and reports prior to contacting the instructing party; and, to ascertain the availability of adequate information such as supporting medical documentation to ensure that any vocational recommendations were well informed.
• Contacted the client’s parents and client to introduce myself, ascertain briefly the current circumstances and to arrange a date for the vocational assessment (VA).

The 5 fundamentals of the MCA 2005 were applied and consent was obtained in the form of a written signed consent form prior to the undertaking of the VA. In order to obtain informed consent, Spencer informed the client about the assessment; providing details about its purpose and course of action. The client was advised that consent could be withdrawn at any time.

The vocational assessment took place with the aim to identify current strengths and barriers to work for the client ; and obstacles likely to impact on his future work or training. Spencer could then comment upon the clients skills, interests and abilities and make recommendations around his options after the academic year ended in June 2018 and the support he may need through this transition.

Spencer noted at the assessment and from the MDT reports that the client lacked initiative and insight; had difficulties engaging with social conversation and he experienced difficulties with problem solving. The client was studying a City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair at College that was due to finish at the end of June 2018.

As part of the assessment process Spencer also spoke to the client’s parents, his college tutor and head of apprenticeship at the local college where the client was keen to pursue an apprenticeship in motor vehicle mechanics.

SMART goals were set with the client around registering for vacancies on as his priority was to secure a paid apprenticeship in motor mechanics. He also understood and recognised that finding a suitable apprenticeship was likely to take time to achieve so in the interim he was open to securing part-time paid employment until he could secure an apprenticeship. Standard 3.

Approval was given for the vocational rehabilitation (VR) programme to commence. The goal plan developed for him to gain work experience. They identified an employer at a theme park who was willing to make reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities.

Spencer supported the client in applying for vacancies at the theme park. As the employer held group interviews Spencer contacted the employer to outline the reasonable adjustments for interview which included supporting the client and the agreement was given for the client to be interviewed on a one-to-one basis and any questions at his interview would be related to his experience, skills and what he could bring to the role.

Spencer helped the client prepare him for the interview focused on general interview questions; encouragement to practice working on his interview questions with support of his rehab assistant was given and Spencer also completed further interview practice with the client over the phone and on the morning of the interview.

Spencer supported the client during the interview and as a reasonable adjustment negotiated for him to bring the sheet of questions and responses practised prior to the interview. This proved worthwhile as practically every question practised the client was asked during the interview and he was able to answer questions with a degree of confidence.

The client was offered a role within the restaurant 18 hours a week with duties included pizza, garlic bread and salad preparation, cutlery replenishment, table cleaning duties and showing customers to their tables.

Spencer continues to support the client and employer including spent time with the restaurant manager explaining about the importance of the client having routine and structure and provided a short document with feedback from the therapy team about the potential barriers the client may experience within the workplace and what reasonable adjustments he will need at work to overcome. The manager and colleagues were receptive and supportive.

Examples of the reasonable adjustments negotiated were for Spencer to: accompany the client on induction and his first day at work and to provide neuro education as required to his colleagues and manager and to attend any one to ones or review meetings.

Spencer continues to support the client and his employer on a regular basis and work with the wider MDT to meet the client’s needs including a recent change of manager to help with education into the client’s needs.

The clients kills and confidence have improved significantly and he is now keen to sit his driving test. He reported in the longer term he now wants to develop a broader range of skills at the theme park and within his current job before branching out into other roles. These included rides and vehicle maintenance and will be further explored with the support of the VCM in the coming months. The client has said he will consider searching for work in a garage environment but not before July as he is enjoying the current role.

Spencer has kept abreast all members of the MDT including key stakeholders/instructing party with progress and produced and shared various visit notes, vocational rehabilitation updates, vocational goal plans and maintained accurate records of all case management activity.