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Real Work Opportunities: establishing an accessible vocational rehabilitation programme within a forensic intellectual disability service

Alyssa Cox (Occupational Therapist, Partnerships in Care Learning Disability Services, Diss, UK)
Hayley Simmons (Occupational Therapist, Partnerships in Care Learning Disability Services, Diss, UK)
Ginny Painter (Support Time and Recovery Worker, Partnerships in Care Learning Disability Services, Diss, UK)
Pippa Philipson (Acting Regional Operations Manager, Partnerships in Care, London, UK)
Rachel Hill (Lead Occupational Therapist, Partnerships in Care Learning Disability Services, Diss, UK)
Verity Chester (Research Assistant, Partnerships in Care Learning Disability Services, Diss, UK)

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour

ISSN: 2050-8824

Article publication date: 8 December 2014

Abstract

Purpose

Patients treated within secure/forensic settings experience numerous barriers to meaningful vocation, including restrictions under the Mental Health Act, which limit community access. The purpose of this paper is to describe the development of Real Work Opportunities, an inclusive and accessible vocational rehabilitation programme within a forensic intellectual disability service. The programme involved setting up employment and interview workshops, interviews, and interview feedback, and job roles within the secure service, to simulate the real work process.

Design/methodology/approach

A reflective account of the development and implementation of the Real Work Opportunity programme with a forensic intellectual disability population.

Findings

The programme was well received by the patients involved and a high attendance rate was maintained over time despite the demands that were expected. Roles have been advertised for two employment periods and have had two sets of successful candidates. Patients demonstrated skills development throughout the employment process, including general work-based skills, punctuality and time management, managing duties, responsibility, specific role-related skills, interpersonal skills and personal presentation.

Research limitations/implications

Despite limited experience of work prior to admission, many patients were enthusiastic and motivated to work. The initial trial of the programme has been well received by both patients and staff. Future developments will include widening the number and types of opportunity offered by the programme.

Originality/value

This paper describes a vocational rehabilitation programme for a particularly marginalised population, people with intellectual disabilities within a forensic service. The programme proved highly popular with patients, and enabled them to develop transferable employment skills.

Keywords

Citation

Cox, A., Simmons, H., Painter, G., Philipson, P., Hill, R. and Chester, V. (2014), "Real Work Opportunities: establishing an accessible vocational rehabilitation programme within a forensic intellectual disability service", Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 160-166. https://doi.org/10.1108/JIDOB-10-2014-0016

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited