A Job Club for people with acquired brain injuries has proven to be successful.
The ‘Working Out’ programme is part of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust’s Community Head Injury Service (CHIS) which is a vocational rehabilitation service supporting people with acquired brain injuries to find and retain employment.
In February 2014 the service started a Job Club at Milton Keynes Job Centre which enabled CHIS staff to support clients with their job search on a regular basis. The Job Club enabled expert support to be delivered alongside the DWP provision for people with acquired brain injuries.
Martin Hillier, Placement Consultant at CHIS, said: ‘Building such strong working relationships with Job Centre staff has allowed us to share information and skills to support our clients in searching for work. Our clients visiting the Job Centre felt more relaxed if a CHIS team member was there to support them.‘
CHIS clients can face a variety of challenges when seeking employment following a brain injury due to the reduced opportunities available and the physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioural impact of their injury.
Since its beginning the Job Club has had 20 attendees, 14 of whom have gone into paid work in some form. Feedback from CHIS clients shows significant increases in confidence and skills in regards to job searching.
Charlie Wilson, clinical psychologist in training at CHIS, said: ‘Our experience is that the job club has been an excellent example of partnership working between the NHS and DWP and a valuable resource for service users.‘
Des Kane, Service Innovation Lead at Milton Keynes Job Centre said: ‘We are proud to be part of the Working Out programme. The project has been very successful to-date as the figures show, helping attendees work towards the goal of sustained employment.
We will continue to work closely with Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust to improve prospects for participants, ensuring they have the right skills to succeed.‘
The Job Club has led to the development of a similar group in Oxford and the sharing of best practice with colleagues in Wales aiming to follow a similar process.
It is hoped that further groups could develop nationally to support individuals with brain injuries and those with other long-term conditions and disabilities to have increased access to employment.