DDN April2022 April 2022 | Page 8



Individual Placement and Support ( IPS ) can have a hugely positive impact for people with experience of addiction , says Rebecca Odedra

Paid employment plays such a huge part in so many people ’ s lives . It provides a reason to get out of bed in the morning ; it can boost confidence , motivation , empowerment , financial independence , increased social networks , and so much more .

For a lot of people , work can take up more than 60 per cent of their waking hours , so it ’ s no wonder that – as a survey quoted in Dame Carol Black ' s 2016 independent review into the impact on employment outcomes of drug or alcohol addiction , and obesity said – ‘ getting a job ( and keeping a job ) is a top objective for people in treatment , only second to “ getting clean ”’. Our experience at WDP also tells us that employment is vital to people ’ s recovery with improved drug and alcohol treatment outcomes – including reductions in the frequency and severity of relapses .
In 2019 , we were awarded an Individual Placement and Support ( IPS ) contract through West
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I HAD BEEN IN CUSTODY SERVING A MANDATORY LIFE SENTENCE and was released on parole [ after 17 years ].
My work background before I went to prison was mainly machine driving , but also building and construction , warehouse jobs and driving jobs . I ’ ve had spells off from time to time due to factors going on in my life , whether it be drink , drugs , family issues , poor emotional management , or not being able to cope properly . But I ’ ve always worked , and I ’ ve always managed to get myself a job and have a bit of stability .
When I first got released , I found [ job searching ] a bit difficult because they wanted CVs and disclosure letters , which I had but at that time I needed to get them updated and readdress how to put it together in a professional manner .
Before I went to prison , I would just phone up an employer , get an ad out of the newspaper , or pop into the Jobcentre to look at their list . And that was gone , and everything was just email . And because of COVID , you couldn ’ t have in-person conversations with people .
[ Having moved to a new area ] I ended up working with WDP initially through drugs and alcohol prevention , but they said they could help me with finding employment as well .
In my first meeting with my employment specialist , we managed to get an understanding of one another , and I got the help I was looking for . They talked about a couple of possible jobs they found , and we sent my CV off . And lo and behold , I got the email from one of the companies saying they ’ d like to invite me to a day down at the company . It sort of took off from there and I ended up getting the job .
The job that I got was a collection driver for a waste recycling company and I ’ m loving
' Before I went to prison , I would just phone up an employer , get an ad out of the newspaper , or pop into the Jobcentre to look at their list ... that was gone .' it . I like driving and being out on the road because it ’ s helping me to get to know my way around again and meeting new people and dealing with customers , and I enjoy that type of work . My main focus now is to settle into the job that I ’ m in and I ’ m also hoping to do HGV training to just keep bettering myself as I go along .
I ’ d rather tell the people that I ’ m working for about my history because that then gives them a better understanding of me , my life , what ’ s happened in the past , and that I ’ m just trying to rebuild my life . It gives us more trust . That ’ s why I ’ d rather be open and honest at the beginning to give them that option to say , ‘ Sorry we can ’ t employ you ’ or ‘ We ’ re willing to give you a second chance ’. We all make mistakes , and a lot of people understand . And I ’ m grateful for that .