I had struggled with my attendance over several years due to my own and my families health. When I was returning to work my line manager suggested referring me to the Workable NI programme. I had never heard of it but thought it was worth trying as losing my job was a real possibility.
This programme was much more than what I initially anticipated. What really sets this service apart is the support I received from my Employment Support Officer and her manager. Through them I was initially able to communicate more effectively with my line manager and explain to them how my issues made me struggle with both attending work and carrying out my work when I was there. This was something I previously hadn’t been able to do but was crucial to me moving forward. From here we were all able to put a structured plan based on my difficulties in place to monitor my work on a regular basis and to keep me on track. As well as providing 1-1 support through my Employment Support Officer I was also offered counselling sessions.
Since starting the programme I have had further difficult times however the support I received helped me continue working despite everything that was going on. Meeting regularly outside of my workplace and having contact through messages and telephone calls were an invaluable source of support to me. My Employment Support Officer genuinely made me feel that she understood everything I was going through even when my thoughts were irrational. She really listened to me and showed me empathy to the extent that she would often seek out courses for me to attend or activities to get involved in to improve my work/life balance.
Although not all the way there, I now have no issues with my attendance, my performance has improved, my confidence is growing, I have been promoted and have stopped taking medication. I can safely say that none of this would have been possible without my Employment Support Officer and the Workable NI programme. I would highly recommend Workable NI to anyone who is struggling to keep their job and urge line managers to be as proactive as mine.