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Providing the right mental health support for your apprentices this World Mental Health Day

08 Oct 2021

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The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound effects on many young people with their lives being turned upside down. Research conducted during lockdown found that 27 per cent of British teenagers felt ‘nervous, anxious or on edge.[i] In addition, 20 per cent of young people may experience mental health problems in any given year.[ii]

Pressures on young people, whether linked to changes due to COVID-19, challenges at school or college, work or in their personal lives, have resulted in a rise in the number of people in this age group accessing NHS mental health services.

Mental health should therefore be a priority for any employer considering recruiting apprentices and support is available. The Access to Work Mental Health Support Service for apprentices is delivered by Remploy, a leading provider of specialist employment and skills support for disabled people and those with health conditions, on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions. The service supports people who are experiencing mental health problems and provides tailored services for individual’s needs.

Chris Kingsbury, Partnerships Manager for the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service said, “Apprenticeships are brilliant opportunities for anyone to learn hands on skills and build a successful career. However, for anyone looking for support with their mental health, it is important to know that help is available.”

Charlie, 21 from Birmingham, started working as an HR Apprentice just before the country went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Charlie always struggled to sustain employment and although initially she was performing well, she lacked confidence and doubted her ability to perform tasks efficiently and to an acceptable standard, often looking for reassurance and guidance that was not readily available. She also faced barriers including anxiety and emotional dysregulation. Charlie was referred to the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service for Apprentices for support.

Charlie’s assigned Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant introduced several suggestions to help with managing anxiety and emotional dysregulation. They included coping strategies and diaphragmatic breathing techniques for anxiety, regular one to ones and being open, worry management and advice and resources around challenging negative thoughts.

Adelle encouraged one to ones and openness and explained that how she approached her boss for support was important in gaining the time she needed to feel confident

Further introductions included accepting uncertainty, action for happiness calendars to help with feeling positive and motivated, positive encouragement and the Revitalise wellbeing platform.

Towards the end of the MHSS, Charlie passed her exam and was taken on as a permanent employee

Charlie said, ““Thank you for all of your support over the last few months, I feel a lot more confident and happy working after our discussions. You really helped me find solutions and ways of working that helped both me and management to work as a team rather than against each other and I’m really grateful. I have never really been able to hold a job down for long and I feel like now I could actually stay here as long as I wanted.

Since Adelle supporting, giving techniques, and opening dialogue with my manager I feel like I can really progress in this company and am not looking for a new job.

Adelle was there for support whenever I needed, and I have actually seen a really positive change in my work life balance and my mental health / attitude toward work.”

Contact Remploy for support:

To qualify for the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service for Apprentices, an individual needs to be on an apprenticeship programme (attending, signed off sick or with an official start date) and have a mental health condition (diagnosed or undiagnosed) that has resulted in absence, or is causing them difficulties in continuing or starting their apprenticeship. This is no charge for this service.

If you would like to refer a young person, or for further information, please contact Remploy on 0300 456 8210 or email a2wmhss@remploy.co.uk