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Work Placement Programme gives Monica a reason to get up and go!

07 Feb 19 - 07 Feb 20

Last October, service user Monica completed an 8 week work placement with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) admin team at Rosanne House. She supported the team to organise the CAHMS Conference 2018.


CAHMS Conference 2018

The Work Placement programme is about helping our service users get back into work through a work placement with us. This is an ideal opportunity for them to gain and refresh skills, obtain an updated reference and acquire new found confidence.

Here is what Monica told us about her experience.

How did you hear about the Work Placements programme and what made you want to take part?

My Care Coordinator told me about the programme.

I welcomed the opportunity to work in an organisation that would understand my needs and where I could offer a meaningful contribution. On a personal level, I wanted to gain confidence interacting with people, making decisions, and increase my knowledge and skill base.

What happened before your first day on the work placement?

I met with Lucy weekly. We explored what sort of work placement I was interested in and we looked at what would suit me; a big or small team, what kind of commute I could do and location.

We looked at admin job descriptions, discussed duties involved, and how anxious I might feel about doing these. We discussed my previous work experiences and career history, looking at what worked well for me, and learning from what hadn’t worked so well.

What was your new role?

I was a Business Support Officer in the CAMHS team. I supported Catherine Swaile, CAMHS Transition Lead to arrange a CAMHS conference for staff.

My duties included:

- Creating a flyer to advertise the event.

- Learning how to use Eventbrite.com to create an event.

- Designing and creating a feedback form for delegates, name labels by using a mail merge file, and signing in sheets on Microsoft Word.

- Liaising with staff at The Colonnades about setting up rooms for the conference and workshops, and the catering company to arrange lunch for 90 attendees.

- Collating feedback from the conference and workshop notes.

What did you enjoy?

Meeting and networking with people, asking questions, understanding the work itself and what was expected of me. I really enjoyed the challenges of creating resources, getting feedback and completing the work on time.

How has the Work Placement Programme helped you and would you recommend it to other service users?

It’s given me a reason to get up and go! It has helped build my confidence by gaining new skills and increasing my levels of concentration.

Have you got any tips for future interns on the Work Placement programme?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Understand other people are trying to help you.

What are your next steps?

I want to expand the skills I’ve learnt by doing courses in Microsoft Word and Excel, and then look for part-time paid employment in an admin role. I’ve really enjoyed working in the NHS and HPFT’s work culture so I hope to find something similar.

The Placement Manager's story

Monica’s manager was Catherine Swaile, CAMHS Transformation and Service Development Lead. Here is her story.

How did you find out about the Work Placements programme and what attracted you to the scheme?

I first heard about the intern scheme at our SLT meeting, and thought it sounded a really good fit for a conference that we were beginning to plan for CAMHS staff.

How did you benefit?

Monica provided additional support enabling us to deliver a successful conference to 90 CAMHS staff and stakeholders.

She coordinated the catering, venue, presentations and delegate list, she communicated with the delegates and did all the administrative tasks involved such as programmes and name badges.

Her support was incredibly valuable!

Tell us about the first day and the support you provided:

The first day was a bit tricky as Monica’s computer login wasn’t set up, but she had a great attitude and we went through the requirements of the job, some background reading and she started on some of the tasks straight away.

For other potential hosts that are interested, what was the time commitment like?

Monica needed support on some of the technical skills, as she was working with new software, but she was a fast learner and picked things up well. She knew when to ask for help.

What have you learned since having an intern on a work placement?

In future I would definitely make sure all the IT is properly set up before the start date.

Would you recommend the Work Placement programme to other managers in the Trust?

Yes definitely! Having Monica on the team has been a really positive experience. She successfully managed the administrative side of the conference. She also provided support to the wider team, working on various other pieces of work during her placement.

What tips would you give to other managers thinking of hosting a work placement?

Being clear about the needs of the service and the remit of the role upfront is helpful in setting expectations and helps with understanding any areas of support that may be required.


Lucy, Work Placement SEVA tells us why Monica's placement was a success

Lucy Anson-Golding is the Senior Employment and Vocational Advisor (SEVA) for the Work Placement programme. Here's what she told us.

Getting to know Monica

I began working with Monica in June 2018. We met weekly to unpack exactly what it was that she wanted to gain from doing a work placement in the Trust and I then sought to match her preferences and skills to the right team.

Finding a suitable placement

I approached Catherine as Monica had expressed an interest in CAMHS and wanted to be able to use her administrative background in this area. She also wanted to work in an office environment and in a supportive team; the CAMHS Admin team were just that.

I spent some time with Catherine to really see what the day to day duties of the work placement would involve and to gain a perspective on the different roles and dynamics within the team. I then fed this back to Monica who also thought that this would be a great match for her. I supported Monica to complete the relevant HR checks and liaised with Catherine regularly to update on our progress and eventually agreed a start date.

The placement

We planned the practical logistics of the placement, commute, parking, ID badge etc. and Monica started with the team on 4 October 2018. She settled in to getting on with the work and in to the team really quickly. I spoke with Monica on a weekly basis to monitor how things were going and provide support where necessary. Monica, Catherine and I had two Placement Review meetings during the placement, one half-way through to review progress and set targets for the remainder of the placement and one at the end to evaluate the experience for both Monica and Catherine and gain feedback in order to shape the future development of the programme.

The conclusion

This placement was a tremendous success in not only being of benefit to the host team in having another pair of skilled hands to help with the administrative support for the conference and deliver a successful event but also to provide Monica with new-found confidence and knowledge.

Monica and I are now updating her CV with these new skills and experiences and looking for Word and Excel courses.


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