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Supported employment - part two

28 May 2019

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By Nic Moore, Disability Training and Consultancy Specialist, Remploy

Writing these blogs has allowed me to take a trip down memory lane to my earlier years at Remploy when I was working directly with jobseekers with disabilities to support them into employment. I have many fond memories and it reminds me of why I have remained in this sector for so long. For many years now, my job has been to design and deliver disability and health in employment-related training. Yet, I still feel I am helping those with disabilities and health conditions to achieve sustainable employment (albeit indirectly), by giving employers and employment support providers the tools and skills they need. 

Recently, I have been involved in the development and delivery of training around the supported employment model which gives me an opportunity to share ideas and experience with others in this sector. It’s great to see the investment for those in these important and often challenging job roles, get the correct tools to do their job effectively. 

Last month, I introduced the below five stage framework for supported employment.

In this blog I wanted to explore two of these five stages; client engagement and vocational profiling. 

Client engagement 

It is important to remember that each person’s journey that led them to a supported employment service will be different. All will be going through some change or transition in their lives and will be at different stages. For example, it could be a school leaver, someone returning to the workplace or someone who requires job retention support. We all know change can often be challenging, therefore the support and information you provide at this stage will very much depend on the individual’s needs. Building initial engagement amongst many things is about providing information and services in accessible formats (eg. easy read). And again we return to the ‘rules’, the values and ethical approaches you demonstrate: trust, respect, confidentiality etc. giving the jobseeker the information they need to make an informed decision on whether your service or supported employment is right for them and at this time.

One of the main things that needs to be ascertained is ‘does the individual want to work’? And is there something that needs ‘addressing’ before they start their employment journey eg. are you able to signpost to other services and sources of information for things your organisation are unable to support with? I would also like to revisit the ‘core principle’ of supported employment in that anyone can be employed and have a paid job if they have the correct level of support, therefore no assumptions on an individual’s disability is extremely important at this stage. 

Vocational profiling

Vocational profiling can sometimes be seen as a ‘tick box’ or ‘contractual’ exercise that can be covered off in a couple of appointments. This important ‘getting to know you’ stage shouldn’t be seen as nor used in isolation. The vocational profile is used to gather relevant information about the jobseeker but it is also produced to use alongside a job analysis (which I will cover in my next blog) to ensure we get the right job match - ‘the right person, in the right job’.

Every time we meet with our jobseeker, is an opportunity to learn more about them, understand their needs and identify potential barriers. I truly believe you cannot support someone effectively if you don’t know them, therefore a vocational profile should be a ‘live’ working document that will be subject to change as the jobseeker moves through their employment journey.

Of course, there is lots of information we can collect during profiling. However, it is important that we understand the ‘bigger picture’ and by this, I mean identifying potential barriers to the essential ‘job-related routines’ that your jobseeker may have, for example, their ability to travel? Do they understand personal hygiene requirements in the workplace? Failure to explore these areas at the beginning of the journey can lead to significant and often avoidable challenges at the end of the journey eg. fading support and job retention! And last but not least, another important ‘rule’ is how we use the information we collect about the jobseeker ultimately they decide ‘who to’ and ‘what’ we disclose about them. 

Thank you for reading my blog and please join me next month on my third and final piece covering the other three stages: job finding, employer engagement (including job analysis) and on-off job support. 
You may also be interested in reading my previous blog on supported employment.

About Nic

During my 16 year career with Remploy I have had a range of roles, including working directly with people with disabilities to support them into employment and supporting my colleagues, employers and stakeholders. I have a wealth of experience and expertise in disability and employment in particular mental health and neurodiverse conditions. 

I have for many years provided consultancy and training to organisations across all sectors in building disability and mental health confidence in the workplace to deliver improvements to attraction, recruitment, employment and retention processes.

I am a Training Accredited Practitioner (TAP) in Training Delivery and E-Learning Design, and also accredited to deliver Training in Systematic Instruction, NVQ Assessor (ESS) and a Mental Health First Aid accredited instructor. I am also involved in the design and delivery of disability-related training as well as developing and delivering bespoke training solutions for The Education and Training Foundation (ETF) and North Yorkshire County Council (Supported Employment).