Introduction Booklet_final.pdf - MHFE

Introduction Booklet_final.pdf - MHFE

Integrating employment and learning and skills


Take Ten People


Many people have supported the Take Ten People project, which resulted in these resources.

We would like to thank them all and to name the following in particular:

• People who shared their personal stories of having mental health difficulties and wanting to

access and succeed in employment, learning and skills, including those who were members of

the national oversight group for the project

• Matthew Tullett, a member of ‘The Well Artists, Norwich’ for his permission to use the

stunning image – Dead Meadow

• The Learning and Skills Council for its support and for funding Take Ten People

• The East of England Joint Employment, Learning and Skills Network for developing the Ups

and Downs board game

• Kathryn James at NIACE, who identified the need for the resource and who came up with the

project title

• Ljaja Sterland, Alistair Lockhart-Smith and Rob Gray at NIACE for their help and support with

the oversight group and pilot projects

• Sarah Bennett in NIACE Publications for her work in turning our ideas into tangible products

• Our colleagues in the Take Ten People oversight group and pilot projects who road-tested the

draft materials and whose comments have been invaluable in helping us to further develop

this resource:

Pilot projects

• Bolton Community College Skills for Life

and Family Learning Service

• Gloucestershire County Council Adult

Education ‘Working Towards Work’ Project

• Hertfordshire Adult and Family Learning

Service and partners

• Hutton Centre, Tees, Esk and Wear Valley

NHS Foundation Trust

• Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation NHS

Trust IAPT service

• Making Space

• Prospects and partners

• Sunderland Adult Mental Health

Rehabilitation and Recovery Partnership

Oversight group members

Claire Helman

Helen Lockett

Helen Price

Jennette Fields

Katie MacKenzie

Kevin Whiteley

Lynne Miller

Mark Ganderton

Miles Rinaldi

Nick Wilson

Stacey Clark

Ann Creed and Catina Barrett

Regional Project Officers

NIACE/LSC/ISCRI Mental Health Partnership Programme

March 2010


Integrating employment and learning and skills

What’s Take Ten People about

Take Ten People is a resource and training pack about supporting the employability skills of

adults who experience mental health difficulties 1 through an integrated approach to employment,

learning and skills.

The stories of ‘ten different people’ who have experience of mental health difficulties

The ‘ten people’ in the title refers to the personal stories that are at the heart of this resource.

Each of these ten people is an individual and their story is unique. There are many differences

in their lives and their experiences, but they have two things in common: they are all adults

who have personal experience of mental health difficulties; and they are all seeking help about

employment, learning and skills. We hope that these stories will capture the imagination of

practitioners, who will use them as a catalyst for learning and exploring the other resources.

Who is it for

Regardless of which sector you work in, or whether you work in a mainstream or specialist

service, if you work with and support people who have mental health difficulties to realise their

potential in employment learning and skills, then this pack is for you. It will be of particular use to

those in:

• employment, learning and skills;

• mental health and social care services – including primary and secondary care, social care and

personalisation services, forensic and dual diagnosis services and employment services;

• equalities – including providing services for: people from settled Black and Minority Ethnic

communities and recent migrants; other vulnerable groups of adults, such as people with

learning difficulties and other disabilities; and people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or

transgender who also have mental health difficulties;

• housing and homelessness;

• the criminal justice system;

• communities and neighbourhoods; and

• informal and family learning.


If you are not familiar with the term ‘mental health difficulties’ please see the Glossary of terms on the

CD-ROM for an explanation of this and other terms used in the resources.


Take Ten People

How will it benefit organisations, workers and their clients

Our aim has been to create a resource that will ultimately benefit people who have experience of

mental health difficulties, particularly those who experience complex barriers to participation in

employment, learning and skills. This benefit can be realised if the resource helps to support local

collaborative working and helps practitioners become more confident about working with clients

who have mental health difficulties.

To the frustration of employers and many individuals, there has been a long-standing disjoint

between the delivery of ‘employment’ and ‘learning and skills’ information, advice and support

services. This has meant that services have often failed to reflect the clear links between the

skills that employers want from employees and the skills that people who want to work possess

(HM Treasury, 2006). For individuals the disjoint has often meant that the relationship between

their learning and their employment is not clear. Gradually, employment and learning and skills

services have become more closely aligned (DIUS/DWP, 2007; BIS, 2010). These services need

to be inclusive of the needs of people who have mental health difficulties and the particular

barriers to employment and skills that they face. Enabling people to overcome what may often

be complex barriers means integrating more than employment, learning and skills information,

advice, guidance and support. It means also developing an integrated approach across a wide

range of services in a local area, such as housing and the criminal justice system (DWP, 2009a;

LSC, 2009).

Why a mental health resource

People who have experience of mental health difficulties are among the most excluded in our

society (Social Exclusion Unit, 2004). Their marginalisation is made worse and their recovery

delayed by exclusion from the labour market (DWP, 2009a). The impact of developing mental

health difficulties on an individual’s life is compounded by stigma and discrimination (Social

Exclusion Unit, 2004).

Mental health difficulties are very common. They can affect any of us at any point in our lives.

One in six adults will have a mental health problem at any one time, and one in five employees

will experience mental health difficulties in any year. For half of these, their problem will last

longer than a year. Most adults who have mental health difficulties had already begun to develop

them by the time they were aged 14 (DH, 2009a). Being able to access and sustain employment,

learning and skills if you have mental health difficulties is key to many people’s recovery, but all

too often, the journey to employment remains difficult or even impossible (DWP, 2009a).

Most people who experience mental health difficulties will recover, and most want to work

(estimates suggest that 86–90 per cent of people with mental health conditions that are not in

work want to be – HM Government, 2009). Yet people who have severe mental health difficulties

continue to have the lowest rate of employment and are more likely to be living in poverty than

any other group of people who have a disability (Williams et al., 2008). Currently, the whole

economy working age employment rate is 72.5 per cent, the employment rate for people with

any disability is 47 per cent, the employment rate of people with any mental illness is 13.5 per

cent, while the employment rate for people receiving secondary mental health services on the

Care Programme Approach (CPA) is 3.4 per cent (HM Government, 2009). People whose mental

health condition developed early in life may never have worked. Others never work again after


Integrating employment and learning and skills

developing their condition. Ninety-two per cent of the British public believes admitting to having

a mental illness would damage someone’s career, and people with mental health difficulties

are twice as likely to lose their jobs as those who develop other health conditions (cited in DWP,


Our knowledge and understanding of mental health and mental ill-health has changed

dramatically in the last decade or so, and it is likely to change again in the next decade. Activity

in policy and legislation has flourished in Europe in recent years (WHO, 2008). Mental health

services in the UK have undergone significant modernisation changes since 1999. There has

been a significant growth in the mental health ‘service user movement’, including opportunities

for user-led services such as public sector research and training, peer mentoring or buddying

programmes, and the involvement of service users and carers. Clinical treatments and

interventions are increasingly based on evidence of their clinical effectiveness, and more recently

we have seen that there is an emerging international and national evidence base for what works

(and what does not) in terms of employment support services (SCMH, 2009).

Mental health difficulties and their cost in human and economic terms are a major public health

concern, not just in the UK but globally (Friedli, 2009). Understandings of mental ill-health are

no longer located solely in individual pathology. There is now a realisation that (in common

with other health inequalities) there is a strong relationship between mental ill-health and the

social, economic and environmental circumstances in which people live and work, which can

increase or trigger people’s vulnerability to mental health difficulties. These include: living in

poverty; experiencing prejudice and discrimination because of differences (such as race and

ethnic origin or sexual identity); already having another disability; experiencing war, abuse,

trauma and violence; being unemployed; living with a parent who has mental health difficulties;

and being brought up in social care (DH, 2009a). As a result, public health policy has begun to

refocus towards the protection and promotion of positive mental health and well-being, and the

prevention of mental illness, including for example by protecting employees from workplace

stress and helping people to develop self-management and resilience skills (WHO, 2008; DWP,

2009b; Friedli, 2009).

The economic cost of mental ill-health is not just about the cost of mental health services or the

cost of welfare benefits, it is also about the cost to public and private sector employers of work

days lost, and the cost of staff turnover associated with mental health difficulties in the workplace

(DWP, 2009b). Mental health inequalities have a negative impact on an individual’s life, but

they also have significant negative social and economic consequences for their family and our

communities and wider society (Friedli, 2009).

How is the support that people with mental health difficulties need any different to

support for people with other disabilities

Accessing employment and/or learning and skills can contribute positively to people’s recovery

– improving their sense of well-being and protecting against relapse. However, they may

experience multiple and complex barriers to doing so. Where people with more severe mental

health conditions do access employment, there is a tendency for them to get entry-level jobs

and not to be offered opportunities for progression and further learning. Most people who have

mental health difficulties report experiences of stigma and discrimination. This can heighten


Take Ten People

people’s anxiety about entering new social situations such as employment and learning – for

fear of failure, repeated rejection and being hurt. Mental health difficulties are not immediately

obvious to others. Learning providers, employers and co-workers may misinterpret social

anxiety and low levels of confidence, lack of eye contact, self-protective body language and selfmanagement

strategies as negative attributes – wrongly judging the person to be distant, ‘odd’

or stand-offish, or refusing to make eye contact. This means that relationships can risk getting off

on the wrong foot. Mental health conditions tend to fluctuate, even with the best treatment, and it

can be difficult for people to predict when these fluctuations in their mental health will occur.

Many employers and learning providers may have little mental health awareness. They may

fear mental illness and hold negative stereotypes about how people who have mental health

difficulties will behave. Some may believe that people who have mental health difficulties will

be incapable of work. They may not have a language to discuss the person’s mental health with

them; they may not know how best to support people who have mental health difficulties or who

to ask for information and support for themselves.

Mental health difficulties tend to affect how people negotiate the social world (rather than the

physical world of work). This can make forming relationships awkward or stressful for the person.

It may take a client several meetings with a new agency or worker before they feel safe enough to

tell their story, explain their hopes and fears, or describe the help that they want.

Employability skills

Employability skills are baseline vocational skills that

Using language (literacy)

employers say people need to have in order to be

employable. They are not sector specific, but skills that can Communication

be transferred from one occupational sector to another,

Using numbers

and from one job role to another. In Take Ten People we

are particularly concerned to identify ways of supporting

Using IT

people who have so far found services too inflexible to

A positive approach

meet their needs, and those who face complex and/or

to work

multiple barriers to participation in employment, learning

Understanding the

and skills.

world of work

Taking responsibility

Following a literature review of employability skills, we

identified nine broad skill areas that are important in

Being a resilient employee

enabling people to get, keep and progress in a job, to

Personal skills

which we have added an additional skill: ‘resilience’.

Resilience is not identified as an employability skill

Vocation-specific skills

by employers, although it might be considered to fit

within self-management; which is included in the UKCES most recent definition (UKCES, 2010).

In the field of mental health, resilience is important to people’s recovery. We feel that having

transferable resilience skills if you have mental health difficulties would prove to be an asset

for the individual and their employer, and we can foresee a time when employers will want all

employees to develop and maintain their resilience skills in the workplace (DWP, 2009b). 2


Please see the Glossary of terms on the CD-ROM for more information about the definition of

employability skills that underpins the approach we have taken in Take Ten People.


Integrating employment and learning and skills

Use Take Ten People any way you like

We would really like you to start by looking at some of the Take Ten People Stories. After that,

it’s up to you. Check out the different resources in the pack in any order you want. For example,

as you read one of the stories, you might decide to follow up some of the resources suggested

in the sidebars, or you might start to answer some of the questions on the back of a story card.

Alternatively, your first port of call could be to explore the training materials to see how you can

use the pack for your own professional development or to train others. Each resource includes

signposting to the other resources.

Figure 1. Use it any way you like


Skills Wheel









Ups and

Downs game

Local Address

Book and

Action Planning




The resources are designed to complement one another, but each can also be used as a

standalone tool or a practical aide memoire. The Skills Wheel and Toolbox are in handy portable

formats in case you find it helpful to have them with you when you are working with clients. The

key employability skills explored on the Skills Wheel are also referenced in the Stories and the



Take Ten People

What’s in the pack

The Take Ten People resources provide different but interrelated information. In the pack folder

(hard copy or electronic) you will find:

• Ten People’s Stories on A4 cards

• Ups and Downs board game (which doubles as a poster aide memoire)

• Skills Wheel

• Opportunities Toolbox – a set of cards on a ring clip

• Three booklets: this Introduction, Local Address Book and Action Planning and Training



Ten People’s Stories

Ten people share their stories. Each story card also includes useful

information in the sidebars and some questions to help you work out how

you could help and support that individual. You will find activities in the

Training Materials booklet that support use of the stories in training.

The stories are not full of information about people’s particular medical

conditions or their treatment. In our experience, while a diagnosis may have

importance for the individual and their clinical team, it rarely, if ever, makes

a difference to the advice and support that people want or need in relation

to employment, learning and skills, and how someone’s mental health

difficulties impact their performance in work or learning is unrelated to their

diagnosis or the severity of their condition. Sometimes our storytellers refer to their mental health

condition or the medical diagnoses that they have now or have had in the past, and sometimes

they don’t. If they mention a particular condition, then in the sidebars we have suggested some

resources for you to look at. These are mostly self-help and mental health service user-led

sources, of the kind that the person might access themselves.

Ups and Downs board game

The Ups and Downs board game is based on ‘snakes and ladders’. It

explores some of the barriers and opportunities for people with mental

health difficulties in their employment and learning journeys. It makes for

an easy way to get a discussion going with people you work with or as part

of a training session. There is a Dice and Counters Template on the CD-

ROM. Just print these out on white card and then cut and fold as per the

instructions. You’ll also find that the Training Materials booklet contains

training activities which use the game.

The ‘board’ doubles as a poster, so we have included two copies in the

resource pack. Pinned on your wall (especially alongside other relevant

visual cues) a poster can work a bit like seeing a friendly face, providing an unspoken signal to

people who have mental health difficulties that you are aware of some of the issues they may face

and that your service aims to be inclusive of their needs.


Integrating employment and learning and skills

Skills Wheel

One side of the wheel provides a quick way of recalling the key

employability skills. When you are working with someone, it offers a less

intimidating starting point than many other assessment tools for building

their confidence about the skills they have already, and ones they know

they want to develop or think about as a possibility in their future. We have

included a Blank Employability Skills Wheel Template in case someone you

are working with wants to take a copy away to think about or fill in between

meetings with you. You will also find training activities to support use of the

wheel in the Training Materials booklet.

The other side of the wheel gives a summary of the model for ‘Discovering

Potential’ (James and Nightingale, 2004), which we have used here as a way of

supporting individuals you are working with to improve their employability.

It is an educational change model that can help practitioners to support

someone to think their way through change (in this instance, developing their

employability skills), to make the most of opportunities, and to learn about

action planning so that they can use these skills again in the future. The model

has three stages: ‘thinking’, ‘getting’ and ‘keeping’. Working through the stages can

build self-esteem and encourage and support an individual’s independence. We have included a

Blank Discovering Potential Wheel Template of the inner part of this side of the wheel in case you

want to give it to a client to capture their thoughts or actions between meetings with you.

We’ve also used ‘Discovering Potential’ in the Local Address Book and Action Planning resource

to help you explore change in service provision and partnership working, and you’ll come across

it again in the Training Materials, where we suggest it as an approach to support your own

professional development. The CD-ROM includes more information about the rationale for this

approach and how to use it.


The Toolbox contains a series of cards. Each has details of

opportunities for people with experience of mental health difficulties to

access employment, learning and skills. You can browse the contents

by sector, programme title and the employability skills. There’s a copy

of the employability skills key at the front of the Toolbox and it is also

used in an applied format on each card – indicating which of the ten

employability skills we think that particular opportunity might help an

individual to develop. This lets you browse the entries by employability skills, so for example, if

you want to find programmes that will help people in thinking, getting or keeping literacy skills

look for those cards that show the green ‘using language’ box in the key.

The cards are colour coded according to the sector 3 offering each programme.

• Health and social care (red cards)

• Employment (green cards)




and aspirations

Practical and emotional

Developing resilience



support and time

choices and control




Providers for each may be statutory and/or third sector, or independent private organisations.


Take Ten People

• Learning and skills (orange cards)

• More and different (black cards)

Within each sector, the cards are arranged in alphabetical order. We have deliberately presented

the Toolbox in a handy loose-leaf format so that you can shuffle the cards into any order to

suit you and add to them if you wish. There is space on each card to note local variations and

contacts. There’s also an electronic version of the Toolbox on the accompanying CD-ROM, so that

you can print more cards if you want; for example if a client wants a copy of one of the cards to

take away.

Each card includes basic information about the relevant programme, website details where you

can find more or updated information, and the applied employability skills key on one side. On

the other side we have added notes about any limitations or exclusions, and things you might

want to think about depending on the individual you are working with.

As with all toolboxes, you may want to rummage around a bit to find the right tool for each

individual and their situation. If an opportunity doesn’t exist in your area, you can remove that

card. Conversely, if there is an additional opportunity that is available, use the blank cards to add

details of it. There is also a Blank Toolbox Template on the CD-ROM. The Training Materials and

Local Address Book and Action Planning booklets include several training activities that support

use of the Toolbox.

Local Address Book and Action Planning

Training Materials

This resource supports you in taking an integrated employment and skills

approach in your service and within your local area. It includes some

training activities to help you develop your own local address book and use

the model for Discovering Potential to explore how you can think about, get

and keep changes in your service and in local partnership working.

On the CD-ROM, you will find an electronic Blank Local Address Book

template, which takes as its framework for organising the contacts steps in

the journey a client may take in accessing employment, learning and skills.

We have adapted this from a tool produced by Jobcentre Plus in the South

East Region.

This booklet contains ideas on how resources in Take Ten People can be

used to:

• support continuing professional development (CPD) for an individual

member of staff;

• support organisational planning related to staff development; and

• support collaborative working to promote integrated employment and


We’ve used the Discovering Potential model to provide a framework to

support your own learning and staff development activities. The booklet

includes activities that support use of all of the Take Ten People resources.


Integrating employment and learning and skills

Each activity is reproduced on the CD-ROM as a Word document (sometimes with additional

handouts), so that a trainer can just print off the activity and notes. There’s also a Blank Training

Activity Template for you to design more training activities.


Integrating employment and learning and skills


Copyright © NIACE 2010, unless otherwise stated

Each Take Ten People resource has a corresponding folder on the CD-ROM.

They contain:

• electronic copies of the resources – in case you want to print off copies of

some or all of them; and

• bibliographic references and further resources that you can listen to or


We’ve included a list of acronyms, a glossary, useful websites, a bibliography

for all of the Take Ten People resources, and blank templates so that you can add to or adapt the

content to suit your clients’ needs and your local context.


We hope that you find the resources in Take Ten People useful and that they help to increase your

confidence in working with clients and other agencies to change the way in which we support

people who have experience of mental health difficulties to overcome barriers to participation in

employment, learning and skills. The resources can be used in conjuncton with your existing tools

and approaches to work with individuals. They have been co-produced with people who have

personal experience of mental health difficulties, some of whom have found themselves excluded

from employment and learning, and others who have found a pathway that has worked for them,

leading to sustainable employment alongside opportunities to learn and further develop their


The resources – particularly the training materials and local address book and action planning

booklets – explore opportunities to use Take Ten People to support the continuing professional

development of staff and create opportunities for looking at how local agencies can work together

to deliver opportunities and choices for people who want to develop their employability and get

into work.

We would very much like to hear about how you use the resources and any positive benefits for

clients, staff and local collaborative working. We look forward to getting your feedback, and to

encourage you to get in touch we have included a feedback form on the CD-ROM.


Published by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education

(England and Wales)

21 De Montfort Street

Leicester LE1 7GE

Company registration no. 2603322

Charity registration no. 1002775

Copyright © 2010 National Institute of Adult Continuing Education

(England and Wales)

NIACE, the national organisation for adult learning, has a broad remit to

promote lifelong learning opportunities for adults. NIACE works to develop

increased participation in education and training, particularly for those who

do not have easy access because of barriers of class, gender, age, race,

language and culture, learning difficulties and disabilities, or insufficient

financial resources.

NIACE’s website is

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