Skilling a work force to fight paralysis.
An award winning rehabilitation facility that inspires the next generation to further progress in neurological rehabilitation.
Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.
Initiative's representative name
Initiative's representative date of birth
Initiative’s representative gender
Which eligible market are you based in?
Where are you making a difference?
UK Centres: Hemel Hempstead, Gatwick and Bristol.
Website or social media url(s)
Website URL: www.neurokinex.org
When was your organisation founded?
Reskilling and upskilling the workforce
Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)
Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?
1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed
As recently as 100 ago, those who sustained a spinal cord injury (SCI) died rapidly from their injuries. In the 1940’s, Sir Ludwig Guttman revolutionised SCI rehabilitation, getting patients out of bed and exercising. In the US, the injury of Sir Christopher Reeve inspired further progress to enhance recovery after SCI and the idea of Activity Based Rehabilitation (ABR) was conceived. Neurokinex founder, Harvey Sihota set up Neurokinex in 2013 to bring ABR to the UK after himself sustaining a SCI. ABR focuses on restoring lost neurological function by challenging the nervous system. It integrates the most recent advances in research and technological adjuncts to optimise the functioning of the undamaged parts of the spinal cord.
2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?
ABR is relatively new to the UK. As such, the problem within our field is developing a workforce that have the specialist skills to be able to deliver ABR and also further contribute to the development of this field. Graduates in Health & Exercise degrees have many of the foundation skills to deliver ABR but need specialist training. Neurokinex is the only organisation in the UK that is currently able to deliver this training.
3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
We have successfully piloted undergraduate internships with students from the University of Hertfordshire, the University of Bath and the University of Leeds to further educate the next generation and teach them a specialist skill set over a 12-month period; we are extremely proud to say that 3 current full time members of staff started on an undergraduate internship at Neurokinex. Our undergraduate interns are taken through a structured plan with a set of objectives which they must meet; throughout their 12 months they are not only expected to assist, but transition onto leading ABR sessions with a diverse range of individuals. We would like to make the undergraduate internship programme a sustainable way of developing a skilled workforce in this field via scaling the programme and providing further learning opportunities, with exposure to both ABR and clinical research.
4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?
Many people enrol on a University sports course with an aspiration of working in elite sport, however, this is an extremely competitive environment. With our diverse range of staff members we are able to offer a rewarding opportunity for these students to use their knowledge within another field still relevant to their degree. Also, neurological rehabilitation is traditionally delivered by Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists. However, the principles of ABR align well with sports and exercise rehabilitation and the innovative approach of developing these undergraduates to become specialised in cutting edge Neurological rehabilitation enhances the opportunities for these graduates, and also the field of rehabilitation.
(Instructions for questions 5 and 6, no answer required) Please only answer the question (5 - “employability” or 6 - “financial capability”) that applies to your organization’s topic of work (see below for definitions)
5. Employability: how is your organization or project teaching people to develop the skills that they need to survive in the future job market?
Our internship aims to develop individuals’ interpersonal skills along with problem solving and leadership skills. Through a well structured programme students gradually incorporate greater roles and responsibilities on a day-to-day basis. The job market in constantly evolving, wanting to recruit individuals with both higher education qualifications and relevant work experience. By taking a ‘sandwich’ year throughout their education students gain the relevant experience and begin appreciate the demands of a full time working role before completing their qualifications. Due to the competitiveness of the job market when first looking for a job we believe our structured programme can help with the application process and skills required for other relevant job roles within our field.
5a. Please describe which future-oriented skills your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress
Providing consistent high quality rehabilitation is a main goal for Neurokinex, we aim to measure this through collecting meaningful data in a real workplace setting on real individuals with neurological conditions. This can be achieved through consistent delivery and inspiring the next generation to be part of the neurorehabilitation field. Although not all students are guaranteed an employment offer we aim to influence an interest within our field and encourage students to apply for similar roles or continue with further education.
7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?
Similar facilities to Neurokinex are available in the US and Australia however no other facilities in the UK offer Activity Based Rehabilitation, our specialist trainers put together an exercise programme to challenge and develop the Central Nervous System. Wheelchair accessible gyms are useful for those who wish to work on their upper body strength/endurance however not everyone can use them because of difficulty transferring onto equipment and the challenge of being unable to work on their paralysed limbs.
8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
Within our three UK centres we have delivered over 10,000 hours of ABR for a diverse range of neurological conditions. The undergraduate internship has been a key factor in contributing to this amount of rehabilitation hours. Currently three full time members of staff began on our undergraduate internships across all of our centres, they have continued to develop the field of ABR along with other rehabilitation techniques and individual research projects. Although not all students have been offered full time employment they have continued into further education in relevant fields or acquired similar job roles within our field.
9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?
Currently Neurokinex underwrites the cost of delivering the undergraduate internship programme. Current internships are unpaid throughout their 12 month period. Support from the future skills innovation challenge would allow us to dedicate staff time to seeking educational recognition for this programme and source grants to support the charitable trust.
Short term - Secure funding to allow staff time to plan scaling of programme.
Medium term - Formalise educational resources and complete funding applications.
Long term- Aquire educational accreditation and deliver a qualification as part of the 12 month internship.
14 full time members of staff including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, sports scientists and sports therapists. 5 full time university students currently on a gap year enrolled on a relevant course (sports science, sports therapy and health and exercise science).
If you selected “yes” to any of the categories above, please explain how being a member of this group has impacted you and your work?
How did you hear about this challenge?