Image for Walking with the Wounded News - A day in the life of...IPS Employment Advisor Chris Carlisle  / ( Chris Carlisle meeting with a veteran
 -  Chris Carlisle meeting with a veteranSoldiers charity - Blesma

A day in the life of...IPS Employment Advisor Chris Carlisle

Chris Carlisle has been an IPS Employment Advisor for many years. He joined Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) in February 2016, at the time in partnership with IPS Provider, Enable, part of Shropshire County Council. Since February 2017 Chris has been employed by WWTW directly.

Chris supports ex-servicemen and women who are unemployed and receiving support for their mental health. He works across the large area of Shropshire and Staffordshire.

Chris practices an evidenced based model of employment support called IPS (Individual Placement and Support). IPS is essentially personalised support for our service users to help them find and sustain appropriate paid employment.

Chris, what is the first thing you do with a service user?

I establish a rapport with them, this obviously helps gain their trust.  I brief anyone I am working with on my background. I am ex-forces and I have suffered with my own mental health issues for some time, but with therapy and assistance from my employers and family, I am in a better place now. I feel it gives the service users some feeling of hope that the mental health issues they are experiencing will not run their lives for ever.

What does a typical session with you look like?

Every session is different. Usually we will chat for a few minutes on what the service user has been up to since our last meeting, has the service user completed any tasks set out in the previous meeting, how is the service user feeling. We could then go on to do some work on their CV, mock interviews, job-searching tips or updating their vocational profile. There are various tasks that need completing during every meeting.

What do your service users struggle with?  

Mostly my clients are suffering with mental health issues. Things like leaving the house alone, strangers, shopping, fitness and simple things like walking the dog can be a struggle so getting employment could be the last thing on their minds. With help from the TILS (veteran mental health NHS teams), Combat Stress and local mental health provision, they gain some independence and we start looking for work together.

I work alongside health care professionals so that the mental health and employment support go hand-in-hand. This is a key feature of the IPS model that WWTW has adopted.

Is there enough support for veterans in your area?

I work closely with other service charities and local enterprises to get the support the service user deserves. In Shropshire we hold an Operational Group meeting once a month. This is attended by various departments from the local council, five service charities, local police, housing providers and other charities who assist veterans. We discuss service users we are working together  to ensure there is no duplication of work. The service users tend to move along more smoothly with this joint case working approach.

And lastly, what has been your proudest moment in this role?

Every time a service user gains employment is a proud moment. I would say my proudest moment was when a veteran who had been out of work for eight years gained a part time role as a farmer and within four weeks, he was offered a full time role. I was well happy with that!

To find out more about WWTW’s employment service and our IPS centres contact or read more about our programmes here.