Joe Blackburn

Rheanna and Joe

Job Taster is Joe’s route to employment

Our Job Taster Programme creates opportunities for service users to gain real experience within a work environment in preparation for returning to paid employment.  

The programme helps people to acquire new skills, build confidence and prepare for their return to work. It has also given service users the confidence to successfully apply for vacancies within the Trust. There are benefits for the Trust, as the Programme Management Team in Farm Villa found out.

Glenna Campbell, Job Taster Co-ordinator, explains: “As the new Job Taster Co-ordinator it was extremely exciting for me to have a meeting at Trust Headquarters with Rheanna Mitchell and I was absolutely delighted when she agreed to host a placement. At times it can be difficult to secure placements, but Rheanna was very positive and committed to it from the start.

“The Transformation Team required someone enthusiastic, who would just get on with the work and when I met Joe Blackburn I knew he was the ideal person. It has been amazing watching Joe grow in confidence and increase his skills, seeing and hearing about the contribution that he has made has been great.

“I would meet with Joe regularly and he would update me with the meetings he had attended, the projects he was working on and the ideas that were bursting out of him. I feel extremely privileged to be part of this programme and see firsthand the difference it makes to people’s recovery, well being and lives.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in making this placement such a success, the team at Farm Villa have been wonderful, special thanks to Rheanna for the support she has given Joe and, of course, to Joe for all his hard work, well done Joe."

Joe, who has now secured a full-time role with the Trust in the Contact Centre team, described the Job Taster experience as ‘fantastic’.

He explained: “When I was first told about this placement I was expecting to sit in a corner somewhere and do a few tasks like typing up letters, sort leaflets and fill envelopes, while important people did important work around me. The reality was very different.

“From the moment I stepped into Farm Villa I was made to feel like part of the team. The work was interesting and challenging, and for the first time in years I‘ve felt like I have been encouraged to use my initiative. I was invited to attend meetings, visit other sites and work on several projects, and when I needed help it was there. I will miss the support and confidence I received from Rheanna, Ivan, the Comms team and everyone else I have worked with at Farm Villa, and I am grateful beyond words for the opportunity to work in such an environment with such brilliant people.

“This placement over the last 12 weeks has been fantastic, and I won’t forget a single day of it.”

Rheanna Mitchell, Strategic Programme Manager, says her experience as a member of staff working with someone completing a Job Taster placement was extremely positive.

She said: “When I heard about the Job Taster programme I contacted my local Job Taster Co-ordinator. Glenna took my details and found out about the type of role I was looking for. Glenna explained about how she would add me to a list of possible placements and contact me when she had someone on her caseload who would be suitable for the role. When someone with an interest in the type of work I do came onto her caseload, we set up a meeting for the two of us and Joe.

“The meeting was really helpful – Glenna set out the purpose of the meeting and explained the options. Joe and I were then able to talk through what the job taster would compromise of and we mutually agreed to give it a go.
“Joe recently finished his 12-week placement and it has been an absolute pleasure to work with him. Not only has it been great to have an extra pair of hands in the team, but Joe has remained committed and enthusiast throughout. When he first started he had never worked in an office and had quite basic admin skills but within a week this had been turned around and now he is really efficient and able to competently complete a variety of admin tasks.

“In reality, I have had to invest a lot of my time in the Job Taster, as it has been necessary to have regular one to one’s with Joe and to talk through tasks with him as I hand them over. Despite this, the contribution he’s made to the team far outweighs this and I am confident the work he has done has saved me lots of time in the long run! All in all I would recommend the Job Taster to everyone and strongly encourage you get in touch with your local Job Taster Coordinator about getting someone to work in your team.”