Success for team supporting service users back into employment


One of our newest services is celebrating success as it passes its first anniversary.

Calderdale Individual Placement and Support Service (IPS) is a specialist employment team based in the core and enhanced mental health community teams. Our employment specialists are an integral part of the multi-disciplinary teams and any service user who wants to get into paid employment is referred for help.

In the first year our specialists have helped secure employment for 19 service users. Roles secured include jobs in banking, building, driving, manufacturing, teaching, cleaning, care and security. We’ve also helped service users secure roles within the NHS as a health care assistant, band 4 associate practitioner, 111 call handler and trainee nursing associate.

Team Manager Amanda McKenzie said: “We’re delighted with the numbers of service users we’ve managed to help in our first year. We began as a brand new service with one employment specialist in the enhanced team in October 2019; a second specialist joined the core team in February 2020. The team have done a great job, particularly in light of the Coronavirus pandemic and extremely challenging employment market. In Calderdale benefit claims have increased by 86% during the pandemic, along with a 55% reduction in vacancies”

Lorraine’s story

Lorraine had long a history of contact with mental health services and hadn’t worked for six years before she was referred to our specialist Bryan.

Bryan worked intensively with Lorraine to complete a vocational profile and identify preferences and strengths around work and life goals. Lorraine identified short and long term employment goals; to continue with an Open University degree that would eventually lead to working in a school with children but to get a cleaning job to build confidence and work experience in the meantime. Due to the lock-down and social distancing, Bryan used phone calls and video conferencing to coach and support Lorraine both in preparation for work and around the application and interview process.

Lorraine was successful in gaining a cleaning job which she is very happy with and is working 10 hours per week during the evenings. This means she is able to continue to complete the university degree and maintain hope around her longer term employment goals.

Bryan continues to support her with weekly calls and have set clear goals for the short, medium and long term. These include sourcing past history that may become a barrier to achieving these goals and was something that Lorraine had been extremely worried about. Bryan is able to provide coaching and specialist information about how this can be overcome.

Lorraine said: “Bryan is my favourite person. He has continued to support me whilst I have been working, allowing me to talk through my role and what jobs I do. he also offers me guidance regarding my long term career aspirations, but doing that bit extra so that I am in control and working with me to overcome any potential barriers that there may be. The IPS service is not just there to get you a job but a job that you enjoy and to support you with future goals.”

Paul’s story

Paul has a history of contact with services over the last 18 months, and was admitted as an in-patient at one point.

He had previously spent over a year applying for various roles. Paul had a few job interviews in this period, but had not been successful. This was having a detrimental effect on his mental health and he identified this as a key stressor impacting on his mental health, confidence and loss of hope around employment.

Bryan used the IPS principles of focusing on areas of paid employment being that matched skills and preferences to identify more specific job roles. There was a need for supportive coaching when times become difficult especially when an interview was postponed and Paul expressed the view that he would never gain employment.

With support and further coaching around applications and job interviews, he was successful in being offered a post of support worker which he is very happy with and will be working with individuals to maintain their independence through activities. He is confident that this will give him excellent work experience for when he starts university in September to do a degree in adult nursing with a paid bursary.

Our employment specialist will work with Paul to help him prepare for his first day and week in the new post and offer ongoing support during the transition into work.

Paul said: “When I first met Bryan, he filled me with optimism, that I can do and achieve my goals. I have worked with Bryan and he has supported me, even in times where things have not gone the way I wanted and not helped my mental health making me feel low. But Bryan has continued to work with me even when I felt that there was no light at the end of the tunnel. Now I am due to start a support worker role here I will continue to gain experience’s and skills of caring for others and myself before training to become a nurse. Bryan has been there every step of the way and I am now coming out of the tunnel in to the light and can see that there are plenty of opportunities for me out in the world which is having a positive impact on my health. The service has given me the opportunity to develop relationships with others that are not necessary there to care for me regarding my mental health directly, but offers a positive way to move forward with my life and being able to manage my health better. Knowing that the support is there now and continuing into my new career.”

Success for team supporting service users back into employment

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