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Step On celebrates 10 years helping people back into work

An NHS service has marked 10 years of providing individual support for mental health service users looking to get back into employment.

The Step On Individual Placement and Support (IPS) service helps people in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent who are ready to return to, or look for work following mental health difficulties. Jointly delivered by Midlands Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) and North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust (NSCHT), Step On has been operational since 2013 and supports more than 1,000 people accessing secondary mental health services annually, while also helping employers find more people with the right skills and qualities for their vacancies.

Teams of peer support workers and employment specialists work closely with service users to understand their barriers to employment along with their abilities and career aspirations. They then work with clients to develop skills and build confidence to help them find a path into their preferred career. The IPS Model also supports employers with advice, coaching and regular contact with an employment specialist.

Support offered includes:

· Building and updating CVs

· Searching for and applying for jobs

· Searching for training and development opportunities

· Interview skill techniques and support attending interviews

· On-going in work support for service users and employers

Team members gathered with colleagues and service users at Stafford Ruby Club recently to mark Step On’s 10 year anniversary with an Employment Celebration Event, where attendees got to hear from those involved with the programme and also the people it had supported back into work.

Team Manager for Step On, Jasmin Watts, said:

“The Employment Celebration Event was a great opportunity to reflect on a decade of Step On and successful partnership working between NSCHT and MPFT, and it was incredibly moving to hear from those the service has had an impact on and helped back into employment.

“The whole event really brought home the wider benefits of being employed, such as improved self-esteem, confidence and social interaction, and how people can really struggle without these if unable to work due to ill health. This is why it’s important we build on the success of the past decade and continue to grow the Step On IPS service to help more people overcome their barriers to employment and improve health and wellbeing across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.”

Watch this video to hear from NSCHT and MPFT chief executives, Dr Buki Adeyemo and Neil Carr, along with former Step On clients.

People can be referred to Step On by a mental health professional or they can self-refer if they are receiving support from a mental health service by contacting or


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