The service user – who wishes to remain anonymous - has been employed for a number of months now whilst still in the care of Sta Andrew's Healthcare.
Throughout his journey he has been fully supported by various divisions within the charity. Before he set foot into the larger community he had previously carried out volunteer work placements onsite in Tompkins café and performed contracting duties at Workbridge.
He then embarked on gaining valuable retail experience out in the community with Willen Hospice charity shop in Olney, supported by the Adult Education team.
When asked what the drive was behind his achievements, he said: “In previous places I wasn’t granted access to any education because they said I was too unpredictable and there was no education department at all in the last hospital I was in.
“When I came to St Andrew’s I decided to take up the opportunity to do as much as I could while I am here and the team have really helped me to build up my skills and confidence.
“I enjoy going to work every day as it’s giving me a lot of independence and it feels good to be able to earn my own money so I can buy things for my family. Plus, it’s giving me the chance to put some money aside for my future.”
Edwin Dean, from Adult Education who has supported the patient throughout, said: “In his search for eventual employment we started looking at his strengths but limited experience in order to profile his CV.
“Whilst not having any ‘paid-for’ work experience, he took the opportunity to attend a community work placement in retail and has completed over nine months to date which, alongside achieving and continuing to study for Level 1 & 2 English and Maths respectively, enhancing his credentials.
“In preparation for job searches we covered online employment websites and agencies, matching realistic aims and covered ‘interview ready’ scenarios, covered application rejection, attended open days, completed online mandatory E-learning and task setting. He has worked incredibly hard and taken all of it in his stride.
“This is a wonderful individual achievement and an outstanding example of how we can support our service users here at St Andrew’s Healthcare.”
Daryl Birch, Nurse Manager, said: “We are all very proud of what he has achieved so far in his recovery journey. I have worked in the hospital for 20 years and have not known a patient to work full time or take driving lessons, he is managing both and taking this in his stride.
“He is a role model on the ward and is really setting a great example of what can be achieved if you are willing to work hard. This is also due to his engagement with the Clinical team and the importance of taking positive risks and working in a least restrictive way. I have no doubt that he will be successful in whatever he chooses to do.”
Dr Richard Burrows, the patient’s Consultant Psychiatrist, said: “It is great to see one of our patients achieve so much. He has worked so hard and continues to do so. A superb role model.”
His Senior Social Worker Melody Nyakwima added: “He has been such a pleasure working with and seeing the terrific progress he has made. Significantly, in a lot of ways he has gained essential skills and he has become more independent, confident and in charge of his own journey.
“Working with him is an example of how upholding the guiding and overarching principles of the MHA is empowering and liberating to individuals on their recovery journey. His story as a whole has proved when empowering individuals to be involved in their care and treatment utilising least restrictive practice is fundamental to the work we do. A very well done to him and all the staff that have worked with him.”
Kerry Harris, the Willen Hospice Shop Manager, said: “What a joy to receive him here in the shop this last year, he picked up the digital till operating system, merchandising, stock control, his customer service is great, he’s very polite and willing to help anyone and duties asked of him. He’s got a good sense of humour and has become part of the furniture, I couldn’t ask for more from a volunteer.”