Safety, Lists & Rock n' Roll: All in the Day of an Employment Advisor

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Daniel shares with us a day in his life as an Employment Advisor in Brent, London. Since writing this, he has moved to our Richmond service and supports clients there. 

My working day usually starts on the Overground, checking my work mobile and diary. Today looks pretty average, three face-to-face appointments.

When I get to the office, I reply to a few emails from clients before rushing downstairs to meet Anna.*

She’s been suspended following an incident at work, and seems a lot lower in mood compared to a fortnight ago. When I ask her about this, she says that she’s been having thoughts of suicide.

These sorts of conversations are never easy to have, but fortunately I recently went on a two-day suicide-prevention course, which has helped. 

We talk about how she feels, what sources of support there are and where to get help in an emergency. Anna agrees that she definitely won’t end her life but she knows what to do if she feels desperate before our next meeting. A lot of what we planned to discuss, about her work situation, will have to wait. My priority is Anna and ensuring she is safe.

Back upstairs, I write up the notes from my meeting. The worst aspect of this job is the paperwork. It can get a bit tedious but it’s important that everything is properly documented.

At midday I have a meeting with a client, Saima*, who is looking for a new job. She has ambitions to retrain as a teacher. She’s got a lot of ideas but is stuck procrastinating. We write a list of things to do and a timescale.

I often find that people know what they need to do but just need support being organised.

Whilst I get some lunch, I make a call to my wife. She’s about to have our baby so I check in pretty regularly.

Brent’s a big borough, so we try to give people a choice of where to meet; this afternoon I’m going over to a GP surgery. I get there to meet with a man who’s building up a freelance career in music. He’s been working hard remixing a track for a major record label. We’re both excited but he’s still concerned that he’s a long way from making a living as a full-time musician. We discuss if there’s anything else he could do part-time, to pay the bills. In my experience freelance careers can take time to build and it’s important to stick at it. Overall, it’s quite an optimistic meeting.

On the way out, I have a quick chat with the guy who runs the Caribbean café next door. Apparently they’re closing down. I resist the urge to ask him what other career options he’s considered; if I’m not careful I find myself offering advice to everybody. Instead I wish him the best and head home.

*Due to the stigma attached to mental health and to respect privacy client names have been changed.

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