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Individually tailored IPS employment coaching within a local community

Individual Placement and Support employment coaching differs in many ways from traditional approaches. In line with the model’s quality criteria, the employment specialist offers individually tailored, side-by-side support, which takes place within a local community and is not time-bound.

Marika Naaramo trained as a nurse after 23 years working in the car industry. After three years working with mental health and substance abuse clients and 5 years of inpatient work, she now works in very different environments as an IPS employment specialist and has made many home visits. Marika explains that IPS home visits are for both the client and the employment specialist a pleasant and informative way to work together.

‘The aim of IPS employment coaching is to give comprehensive consideration to the client. I feel that home visits are a big part of employment coaching. Going to someone’s home is always very different from meeting at an outpatient clinic or in a café. I have therefore been delighted that, so far, all clients to whom I have suggested a home visit have agreed to this.’

The behaviour of the client may vary greatly in different environments

‘The behaviour of the clients in their own home may be completely different to their behaviour elsewhere. In their own homes, the clients may behave more freely and be more talkative,’ Marika explains. She also points out that the home something very personal for everyone. For some, cleaning the home before the visit has been very important and required planning. This is very informative for the IPS employment specialist. ‘It tells a lot about the clients’ inner world and actions. They were worried that their home was not tidy enough. Together, we have been able to consider ways of cleaning and keeping the home clean. After all, it is nicer to come back from work to a tidy home.’

Home visits provide valuable insights for finding employment

During home visits, Marika feels that she receives a lot of information that supports the job search process. ‘The client’s home often tells a lot about them. It is often possible to have great discussions on home-related topics. Home decoration, cleanliness, paintings, plants, colour schemes, and many other things can all generate ideas for potential jobs or a new field of work to explore. During a home visit, it may become apparent that the customer likes sewing or plant care, even though it wasn’t mentioned when they were filling in their professional profile.’

During a home visit, you can also sometimes get to meet the client’s partner or family. In such situations, the employment specialist gets to hear the views of the family or friends on finding employment and can listen to their opinions on the client’s strengths and skills. In the research, the support and positive attitude of family and friends has proven to be a very important factor for successfully accessing employment.

The individual’s wishes and goals are always the most important

Cooperation between the care provider and IPS employment specialists is important. Before any home visit, Marika discusses the situation with the members of the care team. ‘I listen to their opinions. I do not attempt a home visit, of course, unless it seems like a good option, and I always talk with a colleague about each home visit.’

IPS employment coaching is always provided in an individualised manner, according to the wishes and objectives of the client, so home visits are certainly not compulsory. Studies indicate, however, that those employment specialists who mainly carry out their work in the everyday surroundings and workplaces of the clients obtain the best employment outcomes.

In the article series ‘Life as an employment specialist’, you can follow the experiences of our employment specialists in their everyday work.