A supported employee often has a lot more on their plate than the average worker.
Some supported employees are very highly qualified but have had major setbacks due to long periods of hospitalisation, institutionalisation, or unemployment.
Many people with mental health issues also have poor physical health, and then there are the effects of social disadvantage. Some people have literacy and numeracy problems especially if their mental health issues developed while at school.
As well as doing the job itself, supported employees have the additional challenge of learning to deal with their mental health issues and with the side effects of medication, such as sedation.
Alan Blake, Quality, Training and Technical specialist with Flourish Australia’s community businesses says that in supported employment, sometimes even very enthusiastic workers might benefit from beginning on simpler jobs so that they can improve their ability to focus stage by stage.
In the course of the recovery journey, the aim is to take on more complex tasks involving more decision making.
In Anthony’s story on page 8 (as well as others’) we can see how he has built himself up over time. We can also see from his experience mentoring in computer recycling operation that at any one time there will be people working together who are at very different stages of recovery.
Cleaners working at EMAI have to be particularly responsible and reliable because of the need to prevent cross contamination between laboratory buildings and so this sort of supported employment is suitable for a person who has made great progress towards open employment.