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Opportunity knocks

Posted Tue 19th Mar 2019 at 14:41
by Dylan Frost


Dylan talks about his experience with Wise Ability - an organisation supporting individuals with long term mental illness and disabilities into employment

I heard about Wise Ability through Rethink Mental Illness. The person who runs the peer group I attend, got me in contact with them through a leaflet. It was as my time in the Early Intervention in Psychosis Service was coming to an end, and she was helping me look for suitable paid employment.

The process for being taken on by Wise Ability was quite easy for me. A lady came out to meet me at my house and gathered some basic details, my plans for the future, what I'd like to achieve with their help. They were extremely friendly and helpful. Then later I had another meeting with a man called David who went through the finer details, proof of ID, bank statements etc. Soon after that I began having regular sessions with someone assigned to me from Wise Ability, who organised and brain stormed ideas, and giving direction on where I want to go and what I want to do. 

Wise Ability are funded by the National Lottery and European Union Social Fund. They specialise in helping people with long term mental illness and disability back into work and employment. They work with you for up to a year. They aren't like the Job Centre, they don't pawn you to the first job they find you.  Wise Ability work at your pace, they aren't there to meet quotas and turn overs. They understand people with disabilities very well and are not judgemental.

The private therapy and education they have agreed to fund is completely free for me, I do not have to pay anything back. It has been a blessing, something I will be grateful for for a very long time. They were even willing to help pay for housing if that was needed. Anything that would help me get into education and employment with reason could be funded for me, including travel expenses and devices needed to complete work.

Services like Wise Ability can be part of the post code lottery but there should be services similar throughout England. It's also the case of these services just not being displayed enough, I think. I would encourage anyone out there struggling to look for suitable employment to also really look for these services too as well as dream jobs because there just may well be something like this set up in their county too. 

Before, looking for work has always set off a feeling of dread in my stomach. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life even when I had qualifications. But now that I've gotten my mental health in a better position, grown a lot and with the backup of a service like Wise Ability I feel excited, I'm enthusiastic about my future, something I've never felt before. It feels great. I'm still gob-smacked at what they're able to do for me, it's a dream come true. I'm not too sure what I'd do without this sort of service. It could truly be the catalyst for my future. And I hope CBIT will play a big role in it for me.

WISE Ability assists customers to develop important life skills, work ready skills, strategies and confidence to overcome their challenges and barriers, as a means for achieving positive outcomes in education, training, employment and personal well being, and supporting employers to enable this. Visit their website for more information.

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