NHS trust loans job-seekers laptops to aid their search

The pilot project is being at-least partly funded by the late Sir Captain Tom Moore’s fundraising efforts.

James McKay
14 April 2021
Close-up of male hands with laptop. Man is working remotely at home. Freelancer at work

Coronavirus restrictions mean job centres, libraries other places offering free internet access are closed.

An NHS Trust in the North of England is lending job-seeks laptops to aid in their search for employment.

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The Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Employment Service, run by Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW), supports people who are being treated by the Trust’s Community Mental Health Teams to find, or stay in, paid work.

Modern day job-hunting required access to the internet either for applications or job interviews and Coronavirus restrictions mean job centres, libraries other places usually offering free computer are closed.

It is widely recognised by healthcare professionals that keeping your mind busy, through paid work or other endeavours, is good for mental health recovery.

Laptops will be loaned to people across North Cumbria and the North East who are receiving support from the IPS team, for around two months at a time when the person is ready to start applying and interviewing for jobs.

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The project is being partly funded by the late Sir Captain Tom Moore’s fundraising efforts and team hope that 20 people per year will benefit from this pilot scheme.

Ending the cycle of unemployment.

The laptops are cleaned and wiped between each usage and even contain remote-assistance software so someone can help out users if they get stuck.

John Bolland, Service Lead for the Individual Placement Support (IPS) Employment Service, said: “Without a computer and internet connection at home, the practicalities of modern job-hunting are a really big roadblock to someone getting into work.

“Even when libraries and Job Centres are open, who would perform at their best conducting a video interview from a public space? Or having to make an appointment and go to a specific centre just to check your emails for news of an application?

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“We hope this pilot will be a pioneering way of helping to end the cycle faced by some of the people we support, where they don’t have the money to purchase a computer or a good internet connection, but because of that they can’t get a job to get the funds they need.”

Mr Bolland continued; “Our team works hand-in-hand with the Community Mental Health Teams because good, fulfilling, paid work can be really important to improving someone’s mental health, self-esteem, and overall wellbeing.

“Studies have found that 90% of people with mental health issues would like to work, but only 7% have actually been able to secure paid employment. That’s what we are working to change.”

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