Employment – Humankind

Apprentice Success at Humankind’s Teesside Crisis Peer Support Service

Jack Keery

Four apprentices from Humankind’s Teesside Crisis Peer Support service based at our Home Intensive Treatment hubs have secured future employment after working with the support service for over a year.

Our Teesside Crisis Peer Support service provides people with additional support if they are accessing the mental health crisis service, working alongside mental health teams, doctors and consultants.

Peer supporters are people who have had lived experience of mental health issues and offer both practical and listening support, as well as the chance to talk to others who may be experiencing similar issues.

The apprentice roles were advertised for people with lived experience of mental health issues, and six apprentices have been in post for over twelve months. Two have now gained employment with the NHS and two have undertaken support roles within Humankind’s Drug & Alcohol services helping dual diagnosis clients, whilst two others are still carrying out their roles as part of the Home Intensive team.

Janet Serginson, Assistant Director for the North East at Humankind and Manager of the service said:

“We’re extremely pleased with the success of the Crisis Peer Support Service and are delighted that four apprentices have secured employment.

We’re hoping to be successful in the future to support Crisis Mental Health Services users with this critical peer programme that has helped to support so many people overcome a difficult time in their lives.”

Meanwhile, five apprentices from Humankind’s Teesside Crisis Peer Support, based in the Home Intensive Treatment hubs, have been recording their experiences in work journals that shed a new light on how they are progressing.

Their diary entries offer an interesting insight into the work they have supported and how it has helped to develop their skills. The peer apprentices have been encouraged by Eileen Greaves of the Teesside Crisis Peer Support to keep reflective journals that comment on their improvement over the time they have learning.

“I’m absolutely delighted that our students have achieved so much,” Janet Serginson continued. “Their sense of enjoyment and achievement really stands out and we’re really happy that the apprentice scheme has provided them all with the foundations to build a rewarding career.”

The apprentice comments can be read below:

I’m now coming near to the end of my apprenticeship and hoping to be in a position as a support worker. I would recommend this apprenticeship to others that have been in my position because, before I started this, I recovered from my mental health a very long journey and had 6 years of believing that I was unemployable – how wrong I was.” – Steven Moolgaoker

The apprenticeship gave me light and hope when I didn’t believe I could make the changes I needed to in my recovery. The apprenticeship has been life changing for me and it has allowed me to overcome so many obstacles I thought I couldn’t.” – Ellie Wallbank

I feel this is only the beginning of my journey and what a fantastic start to have. I am particularly grateful for the opportunity as I had mental ill health and being in my early sixties never thought this opportunity would be open to me, Humankind are an inclusive organisation and have shown me I can achieve my dreams.” Colin Wood

Professionally I have learned so many skills and been responsible for my own work and working alongside professionals I would have never had that opportunity. The opportunities have been incredible but as well as that I have gained a qualification while working my way up into a paid role. Humankind have given me this opportunity and a second chance whilst using my own lived experience.” George Bell

I didn’t think I’d ever work again or be able to hold a job down but each day I’m proving myself wrong and can feel myself continuing to grow as a person.” Callum O ‘Keeffe

Humankind retains Investing in Volunteers Award

Jack Keery

We are delighted to reveal that Humankind has been successful in retaining our Investing in Volunteers award for a third time.

Humankind first gained the award in 2015 and underwent our second renewal in August 2021, demonstrating our commitment to volunteering as a national charity.

“Supporting volunteers runs throughout all Humankind’s teams, services, and projects, and is embedded in the organisation’s ethos and values.”

Our assessor sought evidence against six quality areas: vision, planning, inclusion, recruitment and induction, support, and valuing and developing volunteers.

Evidence was gathered through a self-assessment, a portfolio and three days of interviews. Twenty-six volunteers shared their experience of volunteering at Humankind.

“I have better support here than all the jobs I’ve ever had, the staff here that go that extra mile – fantastic.” Humankind volunteer 

As an organisation, we take great pride in our Volunteer Programme and our offer to each individual volunteer.

“We are definitely made to feel part of the team, all the staff and all the volunteers are great, it feels like I’m part of a really big, happy family.” – Humankind volunteer

As Humankind have invested in support for people’s wellbeing, we have done the same for volunteers. This was recognised during the assessment, which stated:

“There is recognition that the continuous support volunteers enjoy has a huge positive impact on the recruitment of volunteers, their wellbeing, their personal development, retention of volunteers, and their feeling of being valued.”

We want to give a huge thank you to our Volunteer Coordinators, Leads and Supervisors for delivering an award winning Volunteer Programme!

Humankind’s 2020/21 Volunteer Programme at a glance:

• We appointed 97 new volunteers.
• Our volunteers have kindly given 10,604 hours of their own time to support others – that’s 209 hours every week of the year!
• 17 of our volunteer leavers left to enter education, training or employment.
• 7 (41%) of those who entered employment accepted roles within Humankind services.

Read more in our 2020/21 Impact Report.

Humankind expands successful IPS service

Jack Keery

A worker lifts boxes onto a shelf in a warehouse

Funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and Department of Health and Social Care, and backed by Public Health England, the Humankind STARS (Staffordshire Treatment and Recovery Service) was one of the first areas to deliver IPS (Individual Placement and Support) in community drug and alcohol treatment, from 1st April 2020 – 31st March 2021. Humankind has subsequently been awarded new contracts to deliver IPS in Leeds, South Tyneside and Gateshead, and Cumbria, while continuing our work in Staffordshire.

IPS is a ground-breaking employment programme which provides people with intensive support to find stable employment tailored to their individual needs.

STARS oversaw 87 enrolments into the IPS service during this time, with 55% of those subsequently finding suitable employment, despite the extra challenges faced by jobseekers throughout the pandemic.

While warehouse logistics and customer service/retail positions comprised the majority of those obtained by STARS’s IPS participants over the last financial year, job starts also spanned industries like health and social care, driving, administration/legal, production, trade, and cleaning.

The Staffordshire scheme even secured a stable self-employment route for a participant who needed to fit working hours around their family life after years of being paid in beer and food working in the “grey economy” with no permanent address.

It is hoped that the successful rollout of the IPS scheme within Humankind’s drug and alcohol services in Leeds, South Tyneside and Gateshead, and Cumbria will have a transformative impact on our ability to provide employment support to people who access them, while underlining the need for a multifaceted approach to treatment.

Humankind CEO, Paul Townsley, said:

“The success of STARS’s IPS work embodies Humankind’s mission to help people tackle their drug and alcohol use, not just through treatment, but also by paying attention to the social and economic factors which may hamper their road to recovery.”

Rosanna O’Connor, Director of PHE’s Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco and Inclusion Health Division, said:

“We’ve seen over the last few years the transformative effect of helping people into jobs that they want to do. This can include financial independence, improved health and wellbeing, and the chance to develop supportive social networks.

“The expansion of Individual Placement and Support will enable more people to access this intensive, skilled but, above all, client-led form of employment support.”

Minister for Welfare Delivery, Will Quince, said:

“We know that drug and alcohol users in existing treatment, along with other disadvantaged groups, can face additional barriers when looking for work.

“The IPS scheme clearly shows people’s prospects of finding work can be improved, which in turn can lead to sustained recovery from drug use.

“We are delighted to be working with Humankind STARS to increase the availability of this highly personalised and intensive employment support in Staffordshire, and across the UK.”

IPS has eight key characteristics that distinguish it from most other forms of employment support:

  1. Paid employment secured in the competitive job market is the goal.
  2. It is open to all those who want to work.
  3. It aims to support people to find work that matches their preferences and interests.
  4. Job search and contact with employers are initiated quickly, within 4 weeks.
  5. IPS is embedded in and integrated with the treatment services.
  6. The IPS specialists engage directly with employers, building relationships to benefit their clients.
  7. It provides individualised unlimited support to the participant and their employer.
  8. Participants are given expert advice around welfare benefits to enable them to make informed decisions about work.

If you are a jobseeker or an employer who wants to hire one of our IPS participants, read more about our IPS offer.