How did you get into working in IPS?

Prior to working as an IPS Employment Specialist for the Hillside Clubhouse charity organisation, I’ve completed a Health and Social Care Diploma and Advanced Business Apprenticeship.  I was then working within administration in a secondary care team for a Mental Health NHS trust whilst I was also applying to become a careers advisor, (which was my career goal at the time). In this administration role I met an IPS Employment specialist who was based in the secondary care team at the time and whom I built a close working relationship with – which is how I came across the vacancy; after researching more about the role and IPS model I applied for the position.

What attracted you to the role?

I have always had an interest for working within health and social care and I have always enjoyed working with people to make a positive difference in their lives, this is what attracted me to the IPS model. However, my initial goal was to become a careers advisor but I also had the desire to continue within health and social care – so now I am in a role that meets the best of both worlds!

What is a typical day like?

I have only been in my role for 8 weeks so my first few weeks have consisted of a lot of fun, valuable training and getting to know the clinical teams and meeting new clients.  However, settling into the role more my usual days will consist of one to one client appointments which can cover completing vocational profile, CV checks, support with applications etc. Another key part of the role would include employer engagement – visiting local businesses / shopping malls. Overall I would have to say each day is always very different and productive.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I’ve enjoyed every part in this role so far as cheesy as it is I look forward to coming into work! Each day is so different and fast paced but it is also up to you how you want to plan your day which I really like. But I have really enjoyed getting to know my clients understanding their journey and motivation to want to work.

What are the challenges?

All actions, employer engagements and client discussions must be documented over both the organisations database as well as the NHS database system – this can take up a lot of time which can be a struggle at times.

What was your background prior to working in IPS? 

My main background prior to this role was administration, although this seems nowhere near relatable to the role I gained various transferable knowledge and skills; I was working within different health and social care teams for three years so I had experience working in multidisciplinary teams as well as using the NHS database systems which I am also required to use in this role.  I also have a vast array of experience when it comes to working with and supporting those in need which I’ve demonstrated through volunteering within social care and youth work.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

As I am very new to this role, for now I see myself dedicated to developing and growing as an Employment Specialist – alongside this I am also interested in completing a counselling diploma in the next five years.

What advice would you give to someone from a similar administrative background who is considering becoming an IPS employment specialist? 

Don’t compare yourself to others who may obtain a higher qualification or have an extensive amount of experience in the field.  If you believe you can make a positive difference by helping others and you find doing this is rewarding, look at ways to develop your skills and experience through volunteering within charities and health and social care organisations.