Northern Health & Social Care Trust – Experience with Workable N.I. Support

I became aware of Workable NI through the absence of a member of staff who has a diagnosis of autism.  Stress in the workplace led to the staff member experiencing crisis point, and this followed by a period of absence from the workplace. 

The Trust has an Occupational Health Department, and access to a range of support services, that can assist staff who have additional needs within the workplace.  The additional input by Workable NI is complements Trust support.  The service provided by Workable NI offers individual staff with direct support staff in these types of circumstances, working through their specific job related issues and provide a signposting service to other helpful resources.  Workable NI also works in partnership with managers.

Workable NI provided an invaluable support to the staff member as well as the staff member’s line manager and myself as the decision maker.  There is no doubt that the return to the workplace by the staff member would have been significantly delayed without the input by the Workable NI Adviser and the assessment report that was provided by Access Centre NI.  The consistent input by the Workable NI adviser to both the staff member directly, to the line manager and as part of joint meetings meant that issues could be easily discussed and solutions identified in an open and supportive way. 

The input provided by Workable NI has meant that the staff member has returned to the workplace, is fully engaged in the duties of their job, and has been enabled to communicate any issues that they may have.  From the perspective of an employer, the input has led to the early return to work by a member of staff who experienced crisis, and is now feeling positive and supported, has confidence in their abilities, and therefore more productive in relation to their contribution to our services.

Doreen A Bacon

Doreen A Bacon

Business & Governance Manager

Children & Young People’s Division

Doreen Bacon, Business & Governance Manager, Children & Young People’s Division, Route Site, 8e Coleraine Road, Ballymoney BT53 6BP

Tel: 028 276 61280 [email protected]

AdaptNI join Supported Employment Solutions

Adapt NI provide specialist employment & training services for Deaf, hearing loss and tinnitus communities across Northern Ireland. They have joined the SES partnership following the withdrawal of RNID’s Employment Service in Northern Ireland.

​The AdaptNI team are Deaf, Hearing Loss and Tinnitus Aware, with a combined 32 years of experience supporting our Northern Ireland communities.  AdaptNI are dedicated to ensuring real change not only happens, but is maintained throughout a career journey.

The sky is the limit, we are prepared to Adapt Northern Ireland to ensure the barriers are removed?


For the Deaf, Hearing Loss and Tinnitus Communities in Northern Ireland to have full and equal access to all employment and training opportunities throughout their career journey


We aim to bridge the gap, by providing Specialist Employment and Training support to people who are Deaf, have hearing loss and/or Tinnitus within Northern Ireland


  1. We are inclusive to everyone​.
  2. We are positive about the change we can make to peoples lives​.
  3. We are accessible to everyone.
  4. We are friendly and approachable to all​.
  5. We challenge ourselves and others.

For more information on the AdaptNI team, keep reading and watching and of course you can follow us on Facebook & Instagram….!

Employee Health and Wellbeing a priority!

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council regularly use the Workable (NI) programme. It is an innovative approach and has developed as an integral part of our employee health and wellbeing support.

As an employer we access the Workable (NI) programme through Action Mental Health on a very regular basis.  They support and assist not only the employee, but also the line manager.  In our experience, it is a trusted and professional third-party involvement in what can be sometimes very sensitive employee situations. Health and wellbeing of our staff is a priority for the Council and our linkages with Workable (NI) has been crucial to this.

The skills and experience of the Workable (NI) Employment officer, has provided invaluable help and support to the Council. They help with the implementation of agreed reasonable adjustments, support the employee at meetings and is on hand to give advice to the line manager.  They also make practical suggestions and come up with various solutions which helps everyone in achieving outcomes.

I can say on behalf of the Council, we very much value the support we have received from Workable (NI), and particularly from Action Mental Health, who are always just a phone call away.

For more information on Workable (NI) and how it may be of help to you as an individual, your business or your employer, please get in touch.

[email protected]

Patricia Kelly – AMH – [email protected]

Peter Wilson – Cedar – [email protected]

HSC Placement Scheme begins

The SES Partnership has recruited participants to their Disability Placement scheme with Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland.

The scheme has been running since 2014, and after a break due to the pandemic, the scheme has been massively over-subscribed showing the desire to work in this sector. Seven people have now started their placements in a range of organisations and departments, from administration and warehousing to goods inwards and information management.

This scheme has had great results and looks after the people who join – six months placement, a reference upon successful completion, ability to apply for internal vacancies after 4 months and all public transport costs refunded. Internal training and ongoing learning are built into the scheme and all participants are treated the same as any staff member.

For more examples of how this has been successful, please have a look at the HSC Disability Staff Network page for the staff experiences.

Chris has a year of helping others… and himself!

As well as getting NOW Group and its participants out of a difficult situation, Chris has made sure to stay on top of his own health

When NOW Group moved to working from home in March 2020, we all faced some new challenges – not least Chris, our Office and Systems Administrator. Chris had to support the whole organisation in learning how to use Zoom and Microsoft Teams to replace our face-to-face meetings, while continuing to offer his full range of IT support to staff – all remotely. 

Luckily for NOW, Chris rose admirably to the challenge and soon everyone was working highly effectively from home. Just as important, however, was that Chris managed to find ways to strike a good work-life balance.

With the support of his Workable NI support officer, Niamh Rainey, Chris got involved in wellbeing initiatives like the Strava challenge. He also used his home-based time productively by taking part in NOW Group courses such as Money Management and Cisco’s Introduction to IoT (Internet of Things). 

Best of all, Chris has actively encouraged others to get involved in activities and has been a strong advocate for social inclusion. He runs a social group for NOW Group participants, and he moved this online promptly to ensure that others were not feeling socially isolated during lockdown.

For more information on the programmes please contact us to arrange a chat!

#SupportedEmployment #WorkableNI

Recruiting people with disabilities

Hazel Craigan is an important asset to the Public Health Agency, where she has worked since 2019. As Personal Assistant to the Assistant Director, Hazel has a key role and has continued to work throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Her role includes diary management, admin support and coordination of meetings, and she provides an important liaison role between the PHA, Department of Health, Health Care Trusts and other professional bodies.

Speaking about her experience Hazel said: “The extra needs and communication support that I require as a Deaf British Sign Language user don’t limit my ability in any way. I recently worked independently coordinating two full days of interviews for the PHA with the support of an interpreter. I had to meet and greet the candidates, explain the plan for the day and actively respond to their needs. I love my job, I love interacting with the public and I can’t thank RNID enough for everything they have done for me.”

Please feel free to read more about this story at this link.

Online training for employers

Equality in employment for staff who are deaf, have tinnitus or hearing loss

RNID were delighted to partner with the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland to deliver a webinar on improving equality in employment for staff who are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus.

The session was delivered to employers that are engaged in our Workable NI Programme and are therefore directly involved in the management of staff with hearing loss.

Topics included the legislation underpinning the duty to make reasonable adjustments (the Disability Discrimination Act 1995) as well as some practical examples of adjustments specifically for people who are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus.

With examples of best practice from other Workable NI employers and the opportunity to share experiences with other employers in the session, the webinar was an informative and interactive approach to what many feel can be a daunting subject.

How Workable (NI) has been helping during lockdown

Audrey is a client of the Workable programme, and had been receiving support since May 2015.

Here she tells us how life has changed, but how the support she receives from Action Mental Health through the Workable programme is so vital.

” Prior to lockdown I worked three days a week as a Peer Recovery Trainer within the Northern Region Recovery College.  My role saw me co-producing and co-facilitating our Recovery College courses in community venues throughout the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.  Since lockdown, our roles have changed significantly.  We are no longer able to facilitate our courses in the community.  As a team our work life looks very different to before lockdown.  We are all doing partial working from home.

We are not all in the office at the same time so we can effectively social distance as per government guidelines.  We have weekly conference calls where we can all be in contact at the same time.  As a team we are now looking at new ways of working to potentially be able to provide an online service for our students.  Hopefully it won’t be too long before we can move to an online service

I really miss my work life the way it was prior to Covid-19.  I thrive when I’m working, I absolutely love my job, my colleagues and the students we come in contact with.  I’m finding it difficult having to social distance but I’m doing it as it’s so important at the minute! And hopefully if we all continue to take it seriously, it won’t be too long until we can get back to some sort of “normal”.    

Life for me is very different than my life before lockdown.  I’m usually a very sociable person who loves to spend time with family and friends.  I live by myself so have found life quite lonely since lockdown.  I can’t see the people I love and care for most but I utilise modern technology like facetime to be able to keep in contact with people.  I’m trying to stick to a routine, for example, going to bed and getting up at my usual time every day, trying to do some exercise daily, eating balanced meals, keeping to my usual work days and keeping in contact with people. I live in hope that someday soon we can go back to some normality.

Despite my work life being a bit different at the minute I really appreciate the telephone contact I have with the Workable (N.I.) project.  Knowing someone is still there at the other end of the phone is really beneficial for me. I have been able to discuss fears for the future – I lack confidence at times and am worried how I will adjust to our “new normal” when that will come.  Knowing I have the support of Workable helps me when I’m struggling and I’m so grateful for that”.

Thank you to Audrey for sharing her story.

The SES partners include AMH and Cedar (Lead Partners), Mencap, Orchardville, NOW, RNIB and Action on Hearing Loss.

SES Aims to offer a Supported Employment approach in the delivery of programs to assist people with disabilities and health conditions to enter and stay in employment.

The Workable (NI) Programme is funded by the Department for Communities.

Workable (NI) aids conservation of good mental health!

I would like to extend my thanks to you personally and the wider AMH Workable NI programme for supporting our team member over the past 12 months.  I became the direct line-manager approx. 3 years ago when I became aware of her ongoing mental health issues, and the impacts these were having on her work and personal life.  Within my role and experience I was only able to offer her a certain level of support and flexibility, and at times felt frustrated not being able to help on a greater scale (as I am not a mental health professional).

The AMH Workable NI Programme offered the professional mental health support which she required, enabling her to remain in her work routine whilst receiving specialist support to address her health needs.  The positive impacts this has had over the past 12 months has been every evident in all aspects of her persona and behaviour towards her work and her personal life.

The person centred approach used to identify the correct support for her as an individual has undoubtedly had really positive impacts on her well-being.  She speaks very positively of the programme and discusses how she is incorporating techniques into her work and personal life to help her manage / cope with specific situations which would have previously caused her stress.  She has increased her working hours as a result of support through Workable NI and is completing all aspects of her role with renewed self-confidence.

From an employer point of view, I have found the format of the Workable NI Programme appropriately inclusive.  Being involved in structured reviews gives the opportunity for open conversations between employee and employer, without the need for full disclosure of personal details.  I feel I have also received the correct amount of information and support from AMH during the overall programme.

I would 100 percent recommend the AMH Workable NI Programme to any employer struggling to support an employee to sustain their job and their mental health.  Many thanks again to AMH / SES for all your help and expert support over the past 12 months.