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Employment service reaches important milestone

Posted: 03/12/20

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust’s (CNTW) Individual Placement and Support (IPS) team is celebrating an important milestone.

Earlier this month, the IPS team achieved their 100th job after launching in 2019 to provide service users in community treatment and early intervention in psychosis with specialist support to gain and sustain paid jobs. This has been achieved despite the pandemic, where the team have had to adapt their approach.

Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is a model of employment support that specifically helps people with severe mental health difficulties into competitive, paid employment. It is part of the NICE quality standards for Early Intervention in Psychosis and included in the NHS Long Term Plan, with an aim to triple access to IPS employment support by 2024.

James Duncan, Deputy Chief Executive at CNTW, said: “It’s fantastic news that the IPS team have supported over 100 of our service users into stable employment. Good employment is so important to our sense of worth, our purpose and belonging. I can only thank the team for their great work and look forward to the next hundred, and the next.”

CNTW’s IPS Service Lead John Bolland said: “Every job we help users achieve is a celebration of the collaboration, care and compassion that a person has received from the Trust. We’re especially proud to be helping so many people into work during both a pandemic and a recession.

“The opportunity to work if you would like to is a fundamental right and we believe no one should be excluded from working. It’s our pleasure to be helping talented, tenacious people get into jobs in which they can thrive.”

70-90% of people with a mental health problem would like to go into work but only 37% are in paid employment. For people with a severe mental health illness, it is just 8%.

It has become apparent during the pandemic just how crucial employment can be to self-worth and mental health. The team believes employment gives hope and direction to a person’s recovery, enabling them to feel empowered.

One service user who has been helped into work said: “I had no hope at all, now I have hope and confidence. It has changed my life.”

Another added: “I had no confidence and had lost direction. The team got to know me, who I am and what I like. They help you think about what you can do and my spark came back.”

Service users have been placed into a variety of jobs, including into NTW Solutions, a subsidiary company of CNTW.

Managing Director of NTW Solutions, Malcolm Aiston, added: “We are a fully inclusive employer supporting the Trust in its training and employment initiatives. The Workforce Team works tirelessly to support all prospective and current employees and this is another great success story which we are very proud to be part of.”

CNTW is a leading provider of mental health and disability services in the North East and north Cumbria.