Case Study: T’s Journey With Alenka
Alenka is an Employment Specialist with Enable’s IPS Service. Alenka works with clients referred to her from the Shropshire IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) Team.
Below is a case study of Alenka’s experience working alongside her client, T:
I first started working with T in January 2021 when she was referred to me by her IAPT worker. She had a diagnosis of anxiety, she had previously worked in retail and was now looking for a part-time role that would fit around her Open University Course. Due to lockdown and not being able to see clients face-to-face I got to know T over the phone. We also communicated extensively over email. I spent time chatting to T and getting to know her, building trust and getting a good understanding of how I could best support her.
Prior to us meeting T had submitted an application for a role working at one of Shropshire’s vaccination hubs. One of her concerns was about the suitability of her references and would this prevent her from getting the role. I was able to contact T’s previous employer to confirm that they were able to supply a reference and the process for doing so. I was then able to reassure T that her references were secure and that even though she had left her previous role as a result of her mental health, her employer would base the reference on her work rather than focusing on her reasons for leaving. There was a period of waiting whilst we waited to hear the outcome from this application, in the meantime we continued with the job search process just to make sure that T didn’t have all her eggs in one basket.
In mid-January T received confirmation that her application had been successful and she was invited to book a video interview. We spent some time discussing how to prepare and I suggested T could make some notes to have on hand during the interview. We also did some preparation for the technical side of being interviewed over Teams – I was able to send T a practice Teams invite to check she was able to access this successfully. We discussed disclosing her mental health and agreed that it would be beneficial to let the interviewers know about T’s anxiety prior to the interview. I was able to do this via a contact that Enable had made with NHS Recruitment. All of these measures were intended to overcome as many of T’s concerns as possible and to help her feel as prepared as possible.
The interview went well, despite T having an anxiety attack beforehand, the preparation had paid off. T received an email to confirm that she had been successful and was offered the role of Vaccination Support Assistant subject to successful documentation, references and DBS checks.
The pre-employment checks took a long time and my role at this stage was reassuring T and supporting her with practical concerns as much as possible. I kept in regular contact with T throughout this period, checking that things were progressing and trying to keep her motivated despite the delays. T completed all of the e-learning and other required documentation but after further delays in the system we agreed to resume job search.
In late March, NHS Occupational Health booked in a telephone call with T, she was anxious about this call and what it would entail. I was able to explain that the role of occupational health is to find the best way to support an employee in the workplace. The call went well and T was reassured as the conversation focused mainly on how she would be supported in her new role.
Finally the pre-employment checks were all completed and in mid-April T was able to book her first shift. This went well and T enjoyed the role. Unfortunately, despite regularly checking the booking app, she was unable to book any further shifts which were accessible by public transport. I was able to make use of a contact and set up a call for T with one of the shift coordinators – this resulted in her booking in a further 12 shifts.
My support and contact with T has lessened as the weeks have gone on, we kept in regular contact when she first started in her new role, but as T’s confidence has grown she has needed less support. T continues to enjoy the job and appreciates the flexibility of being able to cancel at short notice if needed. We hope it will continue for some time to come.
“Enable has given me the confidence to get through the application and interview process knowing that I always had someone I could ask for help and talk through my anxieties. I feel that I was supported so well and I find that I am a lot more able to step out of my comfort zone, especially when it comes to speaking on the phone and talking to new people.” – T
“I’m so pleased this job has worked out well for T, especially after all the waiting. She has done really well coping with a busy working environment and pushed herself out of her comfort zone to make a call to the shift coordinator, also I know travelling on public transport isn’t easy for her. T’s motivation and determination to push aside her mental health difficulties in order to secure employment have been inspiring.” – Alenka