Action Mental Health clients experience ‘a day-in-the-life’ by supporting World Shadow Day

Emma Moore from New Horizons Downpatrick, potting plants at Walker Seeds and Paints in Newtownards, during the recent job shadow day.

A number of Action Mental Health clients, who are taking part in the ESF funded Working it Out project,  recently grabbed the opportunity to enjoy a day ‘at work’ in a variety of industries and fields, including some they had never experienced before, as part of the Europe-wide Job Shadow Day.

Action Mental Health jumped at the chance to offer clients the chance to improve their employability by marking the employment initiative, founded in 2008 by the Irish Association of Supported Employment

Job Shadow Day highlights the positive contribution people with health conditions and disabilities can make to workforces and the economy.

By 2017 over 800 job seekers participated in the event, across 500 employment sites, securing 55 permanent job placements as a direct result. As part of its wide and varying services, Action Mental Health sources and supports employment opportunities for clients, helping them avail of training and voluntary places.

New Horizons Downpatrick client Emma was offered a stint at Walker’s Seeds and Paints, in Newtownards, to participate in a day in the life of the business.

Noel Walker, manager of the company said: “Emma was welcomed and introduced to the team and given an overview of our products and services. Emma proved to be very competent and was able to carry out all tasks that were given to her.  She was willing to ask when she needed help and was very courteous when dealing with customers.

“I found this experience to be very beneficial knowing that it is helping others to find experience when looking to source employment.”

Mal, also New Horizons Downpatrick, spent a day with Bangor Aurora Aquatic and Leisure Complex. Aurora’s Will Carson said it was a pleasure hosting Mal and letting him shadow employees in the Fitness Suite.

“Even though he was only here a short time Mal demonstrated good communication skills and was able to engage well with the members – probably the most important skill of any aspiring Fitness Instructors. He was also able to see a high-intensity class, a class for people who are at risk of falls, and an aqua fit class all at the same time. This gave him some perspective on the range of abilities he could be working with at any given time.
“It was obvious from the outset that he was already quite knowledgeable and enthusiastic about getting into the industry. He was keen to learn how a Fitness Suite operates on a day-to-day basis and eager to see it in practice. He asked a lot of great questions about the business and fitness in general.

“I hope Mal continues to work toward industry qualifications. He would be an asset to any gym and he is more than welcome to come back here any time.”

Mal enjoyed his shadow day at Aurora.

“When I was shadowing the instructors at Aurora, I found it very interesting to see the running of a gym from their perspective, from setting up the equipment maintaining its cleanliness for hygiene, setting up classes and running them, introducing new members from the young, old and with a wide range of abilities.

“They made new members feel welcome and capable but most of all they made sure that they use the equipment correctly and safely. Everyone had a role and a job to do around the gym and they kept each other informed. Everyone I spoke to loved working there and all of them were friendly and got on with one another, which give the place a nice atmosphere and allowed me to relax and feel comfortable. To finish all I can say is that I learned a lot from my day in the Aurora fitness suite which has helped me understand that day-to-day running of the gym was more than just helping people achieve their goals but keeping the gym in shape too.”

The Working it Out project is part-funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy.

Catherine Wren, (right) who spent the day at the Department of Education.
David Webb, who attends New Horizons Belfast, spent the day with the Belfast Trust’s Ravenhill Day Centre.



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