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9.5 Vocational Assessments

Last amended 
12 April 2023

What is a vocational assessment?

A vocational assessment is an objective evaluation of an individual's skills, capacity, employment experiences and vocational goals, to inform recommendations about sustainable and suitable job options. More information regarding suitable work can be found in section 9.2 of this library.

Information to inform a vocational assessment should include, but not be limited to, the following tools and activities:

Each component of the vocational assessment should be undertaken by suitably qualified professional. A comprehensive vocational assessment should include information about a person’s:

  • previous employment experience, education history and formal qualifications, including those gained in the ADF;
  • transferrable skills and experiences including volunteering, language and Defence skills;
  • the individual’s functional and work capacity;
  • realistic and current employment options following analysis of the person’s location/ local labour market;
  • any surmountable barriers to the individual being able to undertake employment in a particular field, such as their ability to pass a working with vulnerable people check;
  • any barriers to an individual being able to pursue employment in a particular field, such as any prior convictions;
  • restrictions or limitations imposed by any medical conditions which the person has;
  • training and/or education needs directly related to potential employment, including:
    • vocational counselling;
    • job seeking skills such as writing a resume, submitting job applications, interview skills and being accountable;
    • opportunities for Recognition of Prior Learning and/or credit transfer.
    • work trials;
    • upskilling or re-training needs*; and
    • vocational preferences**.


* DVA delegates have a responsibility to consider the cost-effectiveness of any education or retraining option available to individual clients. Where more than one option for education or re-training to achieve suitable and sustainable employment exists, the delegate should preference the lower cost option for support unless there is compelling and supporting evidence that the client will only gain the required benefit from the more expensive alternate. When considering the appropriateness of further education for upskilling/ retraining, the further education checklist in Chapter 9.8.3 should be considered.

** A client’s vocational preference should be noted as part of the assessment process. Where a client’s personal goals/preferences vary from the recommendations arising from an objective vocational assessment, this should be documented. This provides transparency around any subsequent vocational activity options pursed and a client’s participation in these.   

Suitably qualified professionals must be used

Each component of a vocational assessment should be undertaken by suitably qualified professional. While generally a registered psychologist may be the most appropriate professional to undertake psychometric elements of a vocational assessment, other practitioners should be used to gather information which informs the assessment. This includes for instance where testing requirements are outside their scope of practice (eg, undertaking functional capacity evaluation).