Employment advisers work in mental health services. They provide practical support to adults and young people who have mental health issues to help them find, retain or return to employment.
They work closely with clinical staff to provide 'shared care' to service users and actively engage with employers to identify jobs that meet clients’ individual aspirations. They support people to find work that is right for them, and provide them with valuable support to identify their potential and to integrate within society.
Your role will be to provide intensive, personalised support to people who are receiving help from mental health services and are unemployed and who wish to find or return to work, maybe after a period of ill-health, or may need some help to stay in their current job.
You will work closely with your clients to understand their skills, background and experience, their aspirations for paid work, and any barriers they may face. You will focus on job searches with people you support, as well as sourcing often ‘hidden’ job opportunities through building relationships with employers.
Supporting people who are struggling in their job, you will work with them and their employer to make reasonable adjustments to their work to enable them to keep their employment. You will educate and support employers, which may include making sure people are supported in the work place, developing a return to work strategy, and on-going contact with the employer to ensure people can stay in their job.
You will be required to monitor progress being made and make sure the support you provide is effective, and keep abreast of changing practice within the area of employment support and rehabilitation.
Where will I work?
You may be based in a local health centre, in a talking therapies service, or in an office in a local mental health community hospital. You will need to travel around your local area meeting people and employers in the community, and visiting places of work if needed.
Who will I work with?
You will work as part of a team of health, social care and employment workers, working collaboratively with doctors, nurses and therapists in managing symptoms at work, medication reviews and supporting rehabilitation needs such as social skill development and budgeting. You will work with members of a community mental health team or within an Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service as well as other government agencies such as Job Centre Plus, housing and accommodation providers and debt counselling agencies.
You will have the support of a team supervisor and colleagues in the mental health team. However, this role will involve working independently and remotely for a significant part of the working week.
There are no set entry requirements to become an employment adviser. However, some employers may ask for a qualification in healthcare and/or relevant experience and some may require you to hold an undergraduate degree in areas such as health or social care.
Employers may want to see that you have experience or an understanding of mental health services from doing paid or voluntary work with people with mental health issues. Your experience could also be from your personal circumstances, for example looking after someone with mental health issues or dealing with your own mental health issues.
Employers may also want to see that you have experience in supporting people with health issues into work or voluntary work positions, or have experience working with other agencies including Job Centre Plus. Employers will expect good literacy and numeracy. They may ask for GCSEs 9-4 (A-C) or equivalent.
Skills and personal characteristics needed
Employment advisers need:
- excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to build relationships with a range of people
- the ability to build close, trusting and productive relationships with people
- to be able work well within a multidisciplinary team
- the ability to approach employers and build relationships with them, often from scratch
- a good understanding of mental health issues
- strong written and verbal communication skills, tailored to a variety of audiences
- to be able to work independently and use initiative to think quickly on the spot in often challenging situations
- creativity to solve problems and tackle obstacles
- effective time management for tight deadlines and managing competing demands
Training and development
You will go through an induction programme, which will include specialist training. You may have ongoing training to keep your skills and knowledge up to date.
Pay and conditions
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Employment advisers working in the NHS are paid on the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay system. You may start on a band 3/4/5 depending on job location and experience.
The standard working hours are 37.5 hours a week, but you may sometimes be required to work outside the hours of 9am and 5pm.
Terms and conditions may be different for those employed outside of the NHS.
Where the role can lead
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Employment advisers may eventually be able to progress to becoming a senior employment adviser or the team leader of a group of employment advisers, providing supervision, training, and mentoring to a team of others, and offering a pivotal role in managing a high-quality service.
Employment advisers may choose to apply to train as a mental health nurse, social worker, or to pursue a further career in psychological therapies, for example as a psychological wellbeing practitioner.
Job market and vacancies
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Visit the websites below to look for vacancies.
If you're applying for a role either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services, you'll be asked to show how you think the NHS values apply in your everyday work.
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Visit the Individual Placement and Support website IPS Grow