Conwy Pre-Employment Counselling
January to December 2022
RCS piloted a service to provide short term work-focussed counselling and/or career coaching to support people to overcome mental health barriers to employment. This was to fill a gap in provision at a time of heightened need. The service was targeted at people who were unemployed, economically inactive or whose employment was at risk because of a mental health condition.
The programme formed part of Conwy Council’s Skills and Employability Programme, funded through the UK Community Renewal Fund.
RCS launched the new pre-employment counselling service in Spring 2022.The support was delivered by two in-house RCS counsellors and four sessional counsellors. The majority of participants were referred in from other strands of Conwy’s Skills and Employability Programme, in order to access help with health conditions that were impacting their ability to engage with wider employability support.
The new counselling service supported 50 individuals between January to December 2022. An additional 13 applicants expressed interested in the service but chose not to complete their registration.
We offered a range of therapeutic support, including:
- Person-Centred Counselling
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
- Career Coaching
Participants received up to 6 sessions and the interventions were delivered in a mixed approach that included both face to face and phone-based/on-line support. Support was provided in both Welsh and English, according to client preference. Participants received up to six sessions of counselling, or four sessions of career coaching, whichever was best suited to their needs.
Accredited tools were used to measure improvements in health and employability.
Key Barriers for Clients
Participants reported the following additional barriers to employment:
- Debt issues – low income, gambling or shopping addiction
- Substance misuse
- Transport – lack of transport, unable to travel to interviews.
- Housing – unfit accommodation
- Social – lack of social contact, relationship breakdown, disagreement in family, feeling unsafe due to ex partners or family members.
- Work –previous negative experiences of work.
- Criminal record – preventing access to job roles, stigma.
- Educational underachievement – lack of skills/qualifications
- Digital exclusion – no access to internet, no money for device or data
Where participants agreed, they were signposted on to other organisations that could provide support to address these wider issues.
Impact and Legacy
The service was successful in meeting its objectives.
- It engaged the target number of participants, and all registered participants completed a therapeutic intervention.
- In post-intervention surveys, 84% of participants reported that their health and ability to work had improved as a result of the intervention.
- 46% of participants showed measurable improvements in their mental health condition in CORE10 / PHQ-9 assessments.
RCS will be exploring ways of building on the success of the programme to ensure a positive legacy, providing therapeutic support to help people address mental health barriers to employment.
“Andrew was so very calm and understanding and gave me the information I needed to help myself”
“Andrew is an excellent counsellor, allows one to open up at their own pace. I always felt he was there with me , giving me positive choices but above all allowing me to make them”
“Gave me enough time to make positive changes”
“It really helped back into employment after years of mental illness”
“Keep doing what you are doing – you do a fantastic job it’s brilliant”
“I’m back on track and able to cope”