Service expands to improve mental health care in Northumberland

Posted: 24/01/22

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) is looking for seven Employment Specialists to join the Individual Placement and Support service (IPS) providing specialist employment support to people receiving care and treatment from mental health services.

In the largest recruitment drive since the team’s inception, the posts cover areas across Northumberland to support the expansion of IPS provision in the county.

IPS supports people who are being treated by the Trust’s community mental health teams to find, or stay in, paid work. Since launching in 2019, the service has helped almost 150 people into jobs, ranging from nursing, to administration, construction, and everything in between. The team also help people who are struggling at work to keep their job.

Virtual events are being held for potential applicants, which will serve as an opportunity to find out more about the service and ask questions on how to apply.

The sessions will be held via Microsoft Teams on the following dates:

  • Tuesday 25th January 9.30-10.30am
  • Wednesday 26th January 12.30-1.30pm
  • Thursday 27th January 4-5pm

The events will include a presentation introducing the service followed by an informal Q&A session. Attendees will be joined by IPS staff, including one of the team’s current Employment Specialists.

To register your interest for an event, please email

The team are happy to have a separate conversation with anyone unable to attend an event.

IPS Service Lead, John Bolland, said: “We’re extremely excited to be growing our award-winning IPS team, helping more people pursue work, build careers and live life! We’d welcome applicants from all walks of life who have a passion for people and a fundamental belief that anyone can pursue their dream job with the right support.”

Individual Placement and Support is a highly effective ‘place then train’ approach to helping people with severe mental health issues to find, or stay in, employment. It focuses on giving each person intensive, personalised support to help them find a job that is well-suited to them. IPS staff can also liaise with employers to explain the adaptations or adjustments someone might need due to their mental health. Once someone is in work, the employer and the employee then receive ongoing support from the IPS team.

One service user said: “I was unable to separate my work life from my home-life which resulted in me finding myself in a dark place mentally. I began working with the IPS service and my Employment Specialist was amazing. He helped me see a better future and got me on track as I needed some direction. My Employment Specialist was so encouraging, he made me believe in myself. I am now working full time for the NHS and loving it!”

The expansion of the service has been made possible thanks to funding from NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group. Community mental health services for people with serious mental illness in Northumberland are to receive £2 million of additional funding over the next three years.

The funding will support more ‘joined up’ mental health care which will enable people with serious mental illness across Northumberland to access more holistic and tailored care depending on their need.

Jane Walker, Mental Health Commissioning Manager at Northumberland CCG, said: “This is a great opportunity to work in partnership with the Trust to expand a much-needed service into Northumberland. Supporting people to stay in or return to employment is an important element to the wider transformation of community mental health services across the County.”

Service users and potential service users will be empowered to access the right support for them.

Employment support is just one part of the new community-based offer which also includes access to psychological therapies, improved physical health care and personalised and trauma informed care.

CNTW is one of the largest healthcare trusts in the country, serving a population of 1.7 million. It has been rated ‘Outstanding’ by the CQC and has been awarded the prestigious HSJ Award for Provider of the Year.

To find out more about the current vacancies in the IPS service, go to