Turning dreams into reality

12 March 2024

jm3.jpgJordan was unhappy in her job, which was impacting negatively on her mental health. She was referred to our East Community Health team in Southampton for mental health support. This was when Jordan accessed the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) service.

In partnership with Southampton City Council and Southern Health, the Southampton IPS team provides flexible, person-centred and time unlimited support to help people to gain and retain employment that matches their goals and preferences.

Even though Jordan was working as a healthcare assistant at an organisation that looked after people with dementia, she always wanted to be a pipefitter. However financial challenges hindered her access to change her career path. But through the support of the IPS team, Jordan was able to start the journey of realising her dream.

Employment in a good job, where we feel safe, secure and supported, can have a hugely positive impact on our lives, including our physical and mental wellbeing. The Southampton IPS team help people to explore employment options that will improve their mental health and wellbeing long-term.

Sarah Clayton, a Southampton City Council Employment Specialist at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, was instrumental in supporting Jordan in finding a way to pursue her passion. Sarah said: “Jordan has a strong work ethic but was not happy in the work she was in but wanted to do pipe fitting. I helped her to get funding for the course she needed, and we helped take that barrier away.

“I’m proud of Jordan who has embraced something different. It’s wonderful to see people thriving, it makes what I do so rewarding.”

Jordan said that after talking to Sarah and explaining how unhappy she was in her current role, Sarah started to dive deeper into what she was more suited to do. Jordan added: “We applied and got funding for a Gas Pipe Fitting course which after completion would guarantee me work. I started to feel hopeful for my future.”

Thriving in a male dominated space

“IPS changed my life. I completed the course, it has been my biggest achievement. I was the only female on the course, and I completed it top of the class. I have always wanted to work in a male space, and I do it well and have no trouble keeping up with them.”

Completing this course has changed Jordan’s life. She said: “I have goals for the future, I can afford to move house and plan to save for a wedding, something I could not do before. And I am happy.”

Emma Dalwood, Southampton IPS Manager, added: “We have supported people to gain employment in their dream job, even if they have been unemployed for several years. We have supported people to address difficulties they are experiencing in work, so they feel happier and more supported in their role. We have also supported people to change jobs if they feel their current role is having a negative impact on their mental health and wellbeing.”

Combining IPS support with interventions provided by clinical teams helps the individual in their recovery journey, supporting long-term improvements in their mental health and wellbeing.

Emma is delighted to see people achieving their job goals whilst working with the Southampton IPS team. Emma said: “When we first meet people referred into our service, they are often in the very early stages of their recovery. Many express that they lack confidence and that they feel they have very little to offer an employer. The IPS team help people to identify their skills and strengths, build their confidence and recognise that they have a lot to offer and deserve the opportunity to work towards their gaining their dream job. It is incredibly rewarding to hear the people we work with share their recovery stories.”

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