Rehabilitation Work (Visual Impairment) - FdSc

UCAS Code:
Full Time (2 years)
September 2016

Become a specialist in helping those with sight loss and blindness, either acquired or from birth. Learn key skills through simulation activities in this practical course. A rehabilitation worker’s strength is to be a problem solver and to help client’s improve their own problem-solving ability. You will develop individual programmes based on an agreed assessment of client’s needs.

What's covered in the course?

Your initial learning focuses on the individual; how to work in partnership with the service user, their family and society. You will progress to working inter-professionally to promote the needs of people experiencing sight loss.

You will also learn how to teach visually impaired people to become independent in their daily lives, through orientation skills and safety in the kitchen, overcoming communication barriers and making the best use of any residual vision.

You will develop specific skills to help improve the mobility, independent living and communication skills of people with all levels of visual impairment.

Completing this course allows you to progress to our top-up degree which enhances your skills further and predominately looks at how to improve and reflect on your current practices as a Rehabilitation Worker (Visual Impairment), or a Rehabilitation Officer.

To access the Degree programme you must be working or linked with people who are experiencing sight loss, or have a visual impairment.

“I liked the fact that everything we needed for our course was on the one campus, and the local community had lots of venues we could access for mobility training.” Jayne Pascoe

Why Choose Us?

  • Birmingham City University is one of only three UK providers with this level of specialist education and training, and the largest educator of Rehabilitation Workers in the UK.
  • The foundation degree is accepted as the trusted qualification to be employed as a rehabilitation worker.
  • The course is very practical and hands-on. Lectures and online support will enhance your learning but you will be putting skills into practice from week one.
  • Working with the individual, and as part of the professional community, you develop specific skills to help improve the mobility, independent living and communication skills of people with all levels of visual impairment.
  • Experts from outside of the University are also involved to provide additional specialist lectures.
  • Access to service users means you get a rare depth of insight, invaluable feedback on your progress, and a sense of personal satisfaction from helping people to live independently once again.
Student ambassador helps Open Day visitor

Sign up for Open Day info

Our next University-wide Open Days will take place in 2016. If you're interested in attending, fill in the form below and we'll let you know when registration opens.

Sign up for Open Day info
This course is not open to International students
School of Allied and Public Health Professions

Discover the School of Allied and Public Health Professions

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Blind Veterans UK
  • Devon County Council

And in jobs such as:

  • IT instructor
  • Rehabilitation Officer Visually Impaired

Entry Requirements

  • Level 3 NVQ or Diploma or equivalent (full award)
  • 2 or more A-Levels (DD/120 UCAS tariff points) or a BTEC ordinary National Diploma
  • Level 2 NVQ or Diploma (full award) plus a written paper (details of content will be provided by the admissions tutor post application)
  • 5 GCSE passes at grade C or above plus a written paper (details of content will be provided by the admissions tutor post application)
  • For applicants with relevant and significant work experience in the disability sector there is the option to complete a written paper (this will be set by the admissions tutor following receipt of an application).
  • GCSE at grade C or above at English Language (or equivalent such as key skills level 2, adult literacy level 2 or CSE grade 1 will be accepted.

Additional entry requirements for the Foundation Degree in Rehabilitation Work (Visual Impairment):

  • You should demonstrate the ability to undertake studies at Foundation Degree level.
  • In addition, personal experience, or experience of working with people who are blind and partially sighted is desirable. Relevant experience in other care settings will also be taken into consideration.
  • You are required to be aged 18 years or above on entry.
  • You must have access to, and be able to use, broadband internet and e-mail facilities, as a proportion of this course is delivered through these media.
  • This course requires you to learn to teach people who are blind and partially sighted in high risk situations, such as crossing roads independently, coping safely in the kitchen and managing home and personal care. It is a requirement that you will already be competent yourself in these daily activities and have the capacity to monitor the safety of those who you are learning to teach. The application form asks you to confirm this requirement.

From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels

Mature students with no formal qualifications

  • Most of our students are not school leavers and a number have chosen this course in order to change their career or return to work.
  • Mature applicants without formal qualifications must demonstrate personal or professional experience of any of the caring professions and the ability to study at Foundation Degree level.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
FdSc Sep 2016 FT 2 years £6,000 per year Apply online now

International Students

Sorry, this course is not available to international students.

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Additional costs

We offer a wide range of professionally accredited and vocational courses that require the purchase of, among other things, uniforms, equipment, subscriptions, professional body memberships and DBS checks, and may require you to pay to attend conferences or participate in placements.

The link below provides our estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs to you could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course. We set out where we can, based on experience, where these indicative costs are for activities that are optional or compulsory.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

How to apply

Please apply directly to the school.

Download the following documents to apply online:

Tel: +44 (0) 121 331 5500

This course is not available to International Students

It is not possible to apply for this course via UCAS - please apply directly to the School.

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

This course is not available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Grants and Scholarships

Want to join us in September 2016? Undergraduate students can receive up to £4,000* in non repayable financial support.

*(criteria will apply)

Year one

Although there will be classroom based lectures, the course is mostly practical. You will learn new skills but the aim is for you to be able to teach these skills to a high standard. You will work in groups and quite often in pairs. There will be many opportunities to teach and to be taught.

Owing to the nature of the role, you will experience many practical teaching sessions in order to ensure that you are adequately prepared and fit for practice. This includes teaching sessions in and around the locality of the campus, providing in situ teaching and learning opportunities.

Modules explained:
Moving into HE

This module will combine learning and teaching methods, interpersonal skills and reflective practice. Instruction will be given in academic writing, self-directed and independent learning. Content will include confidence building, listening, personal development planning and communication/presentation skills.

Low Vision, Blindness and Impairment

The module will cover a broad range of topics such as how the eye and brain functions, congenital blindness, disabilities and complex needs.

Foundations of Orientation and Mobility

This will introduce you to how to teach a range of independent indoor mobility skills and techniques. These are practical sessions where you will develop your planning, teaching and experiential learning skills.

Foundations of Activities of Daily Living and Communications

The module will introduce teaching skills to people with little or no sight in areas such as the kitchen and household. The sessions are practical and designed to enable you to teach techniques to enhance a person’s independence within the home/work place. Communications introduces you to Braille and other tactile communication systems. Adaptive equipment will feature strongly as well as an introduction to assessment of individuals with a visual impairment.

Work-based learning

Outside of the group learning weeks you will spend a minimum of 60 days at a work-based learning organisation that provides services linked to individual with a sight loss. There will be opportunities to enhance your communication skills and potentially some practical skills with service users.

Year two

Modules explained:
Low Vision Therapy

This module continues on from Low Vision, Blindness and Impairment. Clinical and functional vision is explored in further detail. Magnification and electronic adaptive equipment will be introduced. The sessions are practical and will be conducted both on site and outdoors with the links to outdoor mobility.

Practice Debate

The module covers crucial areas such as legislation, person centred practice, models of disability, discrimination and significant issues relating to Rehabilitation Workers. The module is designed to be very interactive with small group research work and discussion.

Orientation and Mobility for Practice

This will introduce you to teaching skills and techniques to people with a visual impairment outdoors. Skills will be taught to a high level with opportunities to teach bus and train travel as well as complex town and city centre routes.

Activities of Daily Living and Communication for Practice

The module will look in depth at assessment skills and report writing. Interpersonal skills will again feature highly. There will also be teaching in relation to emotional support, enabling and disabling barriers, working with people with complex needs, dual sensory loss and additional impairments. Tactile and electronic communication skills such as Braille and IT will feature throughout.

Work-based learning

Year two will require a minimum of 60 days to be completed at a work based learning organisation that provides a range of rehabilitation services. You will carry a small case load and deliver services to people with visual impairments. You will start to carry out the real work and gain crucial experience which should enhance your employability.

Course structure

Your initial learning focuses on the individual, how to work in partnership with the service user, their family and society. You will progress on to working inter-professionally to promote the needs of people experiencing sight loss.

You will also learn how to teach visually impaired people to become independent in their daily lives through orientation skills and safety in the kitchen, overcoming communication barriers and making the best use of any residual vision.

You will develop specific skills to help improve the mobility, independent living and communication skills of people with all levels of visual impairment.

To aid accessibility, teaching occurs in intense week-long blocks so that if you’re based some distance away, you can receive uninterrupted training in a more convenient form (rather than a few hours a week over a longer period).

Additional support

If you are dyslexic, have a specific learning difference or a disability, we have a Disability Tutor who can help and support you. 

More on our disability tutor >>

We offer extra technical and learning support.

Teaching breakdown

16 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
59 Time in independent study RoyalBlue
25 Time on placement LightSkyBlue

Assessment breakdown

44 Written exams DarkOrange
12 Coursework FireBrick
44 Practical exams #fece5a

Erasmus scheme

If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.

Find out more

Further study

The BSc (Hons) Degree in Rehabilitation Work (Visual Impairment), which was introduced in September 2010, is available as a progression route from the Foundation Degree.

Student stories Fiona Kilbey

There are not many courses in my chosen subject and I felt that Birmingham City University was the best one that offered a course that I could feasibly fit into my life. My local social services sensory team also recommended the course. I could not move away, so being able to attend the University was a very attractive prospect. I also feel that it is important that some of the lecturers are visually impaired themselves.

Employment opportunities

As a qualified rehabilitation worker you will usually find yourself employed by local authority social services departments or voluntary organisations for blind and partially sighted people. Vacancies can also exist in schools, hospitals, and day and residential services. There can even be opportunities to work in other countries such as Australia and New Zealand.


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.


Examples of some of the skills rehabilitation workers can offer their clients:

  • Teach individuals how to cross roads independently and negotiate complex routes
  • Demonstrate a range of adaptive equipment. This could include new technology such as smart phones and tablets.
  • Instruct in safe cooking methods and daily living skills, for example, ironing.
  • Provide group training programmes to fellow professionals such as Social Workers, Occupational Therapists and Hospital staff.
  • Teach a range of communication skills, for example, Braille and Deaf Blind alphabet signing.
  • Give advice and reinforce training in relation to the use of magnifiers and low vision aids
  • Provide support and advice to individuals with a sight loss, carers, family members and parents of children with a visual impairment.
  • Advise about design and modifications to specific environments to make them more accessible to those with visual impairment, for example, a person’s home or a soon to be built shopping centre.

This innovative and unique course offers you the opportunity to develop teaching skills to work with people who have a sight loss. This course will develop your specialist skills, knowledge and understanding to enable you to qualify as a professional rehabilitation worker who may gain employment in a social services department or a voluntary organisation. You will learn about not only the problems of sight loss, but also how to help people experiencing sight loss in a much broader context.

Work based learning is an integral part of the course. There is the requirement to attend a minimum of 60 days with an organisation that provides services linked to sight loss in year one. There will be opportunities to observe practice and interactions with individuals with a sight loss. In year two, there is the need to attend 60 days with an organisation that provides dedicated rehabilitation services. This is where you will start to manage a case load and deliver tailored services in relation to the individual’s needs.

If you are already employed by an organisation that provides services then it would be likely that you would stay with your existing employer while on the course. However, year two work based learning requires you to carry an actual case load - so the organisation must hold the contract to deliver the localities rehabilitation services for second year work based learning.


We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities. It’s no surprise that the Complete University Guide placed us in the UK top 10 for spending on facilities in both 2012 and 2013.

We boast up-to-date, innovative facilities that simulate the real situations that medical staff may come across.

These resources are essential in offering students a hands-on introduction to health and social care practice. Much of our teaching is carried out within our state-of-the-art, £30m Seacole Building, which houses some of the best learning facilities in the UK.

Take a virtual tour of our skills suites at Seacole

In a sector where new techniques are constantly being discovered, we work hard to ensure that students learn using the most up-to-date equipment available. These include the only mock operating theatre in an English university and a cutting-edge radiography virtual clinical training facility, virtual ward and virtual case creator.


The kitchen is used by our visual rehabilitation Students. Everything in this room allows students to safely prepare and cook food as a person with a visual impairment.

Visual Rehab Resource Room

This room allows the Visual rehab students to learn to use a whole variety of equipment such as braille machines and simulation glasses.

Mary Seacole Library

The Seacole library, based at City South Campus, is one of the UK's largest specialist health education libraries. The state-of-the art facility offers an extensive range of range of information and reference materials set out in a relaxing environment, conducive to studying. There are comfortable seating areas, group study areas, a silent study area and private study rooms.

You will have access to all of the University’s libraries, including the main Kenrick Library on the City North Campus, which is open for almost 90 hours a week and holds more than 320,000 books, 2,000 print journals and carries more than 4,000 electronic journals online.

Computer Facilities

The Seacole building houses a large open access IT Suite which comprises of 96 PCs, full colour printers, photocopiers and scanners. Our PCs utilise the latest Intel i5 core technology, all with:

  • Fast (unrestricted) internet connectivity
  • Ability to save files to USB, DVD & CD
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Research and statistical software
  • Storage space which can be accessed from any PC across the University and from home

Our PCs are also designed to support students who may have difficulties with reading and writing, featuring specialised software with zooming/magnification and screen reading capabilities, which may also be customised for individual student needs.

The IT Suite offers extended opening hours and is supported by a specialist Open Access Assistant during term time. In addition to the open access PCs within the IT Suite, there are 12 networked student PCs available within Seacole library.

Our staff

Teaching is delivered by experienced rehabilitation work professionals.

We use a range of learning and teaching methods including interactive lectures, audio/video lectures, seminars and small group work, practical/video workshops, problem-based learning groups, web based discussion and simulation activities.

Teaching takes place in lecture theatres, teaching classrooms, labs and simulation suites across the City South Campus.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

+44 (0)125 350 2917

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389


Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295