Clients at Action Mental Health have been continuing to gain an insight to a variety of employment fields thanks to the recent International Job Shadow Day (IJSD).
Run by the Northern Ireland Union of Supported Employment, clients have been attending work placements with a variety of employers, including one of the NIUSE’s main partners and providers, the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
Job Shadow Day takes place every year to highlight the positive contribution people with health conditions and disabilities can make to workforces and the economy.
And at Action Mental Health, specialist staff help equip clients with the skills to return to employment, further education and training through the Working It Out Project, part-funded through the ESF programme 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy.
One such client who participated in the annual event, Bernie, was keen to push herself ‘out of her comfort zone’ while volunteering: “I was assigned to Castle Ward, which for me was a wonderful opportunity.
“Some people may think cleaning silver and brass a rather dull job, however to be allowed to handle artefacts is a rare privilege, and I spent my time nattering about the past with like-minded people.
“It was a thorough joy and I am seriously considering going back as I have been more than welcomed; it made for such a positive week!”
Kim McMonagle of the National Trust said the organisation was delighted to welcome Bernie to work for the day as part of Job Shadow Day.
Another Kim, a client at AMH New Horizons Downpatrick, spent a day learning about the building trade with contractor, Martin Rice.
“As I enjoy the great outdoors my day entailed assisting Marty as a labourer. The job I worked on was paving a back garden area in a local area. I had to carry materials via wheel barrow and assisted with levelling of pave stones,” she recounted.
“Marty was very patience and always willing to answer any questions that I had. Through this experience I have now thought about possibly looking for work in a building environment.
Martin, of Rice Contracts Ltd., was happy to welcome a client on site to learning the tricks of the building trade. “I was happy to participate in World Shadow Day through Action Mental Health. Kim worked very well and carried out all instructions, learning how to level paving stones and assist with preparing materials.
One client placed within the Northern Ireland Civil Service commented: “I was very fortunate in having the opportunity to shadow a grade seven accountant heading a financial reporting team within the civil service.
“I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the day. Pamela (my host) was enthusiastic in gauging my knowledge to aid my understanding of current departmental issues,” said Damhan, a client at AMH New Horizons Belfast.
“This shadow day bolstered my ambitions to gain a regular placement within the financial services industry which will hopefully secure paid, long-term employment.”