A Day in the Life of David Lowe… WWTW IPS Employment Advisor
We sat down with David to see how he’s settling into his new role within the Employment team at WWTW
New to the team, WWTW Employment Adviser, David, 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. David works as part of the Manchester IPS team, recognised by the Centre for Mental Health as an IPS Centre of Excellence.
How are you settling into your new role with WWTW?
I can honestly say that it has been a really smooth transition. A new job often brings significant changes and a lack of familiarity, which is enough to make anyone feel anxious. But, Walking With The Wounded offers an amazing onboarding and induction package. By preparing for my arrival, immersing me into the team culture, and communicating its vision clearly, WWTW have helped me to settle into my role quickly. The charity actively encourages colleagues to communicate as often as possible, which has helped me to stay on track and develop good habits. Supporting my first two service-users into a successful appointment has provided me with a huge confidence boost and a strong foundation to build on moving forward.
What does a typical session with you look like?
I am making a lot of calls at the moment, not just to review progress towards employment goals, but also to support service-users who may be struggling during this difficult time. Due to lockdown, the majority of my sessions are delivered by telephone. In order to best position my service-users into secured employment, I need to gain their trust.
When interacting with new service-users, the initial contact involves introducing myself as their Employment Advisor, offering my services, and getting to know them on a personal level. We then complete a Vocational Profile to establish goals, the actions needed to achieve these goals, and to measure how committed the individual is towards achieving a successful outcome.
As service-leavers, my clients have unrivalled skills and excellent personal qualities. In order to succeed in the competitive job market, we often have to create a stand-out CV to match. We also explore common civilian recruitment processes, interview skills and job searching strategies, which can be different to what my service-users are used to. Once we have worked through each of these tangible actions, I will approach local employers to match my client to their needs, and support both parties to secure a successful appointment.
What are the greatest challenges your service users face?
Before COVID-19, we were already operating in a competitive job market. However, with many sectors being temporarily shut down, the job market has become increasingly crowded. Finding suitable employment after a military career has often been a challenge. My service-users suddenly have to find something that fits in well with their spouse’s career, their children’s schooling, and their financial situation. The lack of civilian qualifications coupled with a general lack of understanding of military qualifications amongst businesses can also make the transition into civilian employment very challenging.
Are you finding that employers are still looking to recruit during this period? If so, where have you found employment opportunities?
Absolutely. With people being asked to stay home and to shop online, the demand for courier and logistics services has soared. Most construction site projects have also been allowed to continue during lockdown, along with suppliers of plant, tools and specialist equipment. We have had success in placing some of our service users into these areas.
And lastly, what is the best bit of this job?
The best bit about this job is that our beneficiaries are at the forefront of everyone’s mind. As a result, this job offers an amazing sense of fulfilment. It motivates me to know that the time I spend at work is making a difference to the lives of others. There is also a strong focus on collaboration here, which is actively encouraged. This provides plenty of opportunities to meet with a wide range of people from different backgrounds. Walking With The Wounded also understands the value of social interaction. The charity is full of inspirational people, each one with a story to tell, which helps to keep motivations high.
Need support? Find out more about our Employment Programme here