Authors: Northern Sydney Central Coast Area Health Service (NSCCAHS)
Event: 2009 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: NSW
Award level: Winner
Award category: Specialist Service or Part of a Larger Service
Abstract: employment services available to people with disabilities are fraught with complicated access pathways and hoops to jump through. Adopting a partnership approach, the Vocational, Education, Training and Employment (VETE) Services at Northern Sydney Central Coast Area Health Service (NSCCAHS) are designed specifically to engage with external service providers, to improve referral pathways and maintain knowledge of current systems to access these programs, so as to successfully link consumers with appropriate service providers. The VETE Services cater for the full range of consumer needs, focussing on individual preferences and capacities, rather than forcing a “one-size fits all approach”. Hence a “vocational outcome” from the NSCCAHS VETE Services is not narrowly defined as only “competitive employment”. The objective of the service is to assist mental health consumers achieve their personal best, to improve outcomes on employment, education and social participation. Description of Facility/Organisation: The NSCCAHS VETE Services are provided to consumers within NSCCAHS aged between 15-65 years who are interested in improving their employment situation. A VETE Consultant is co-located with a different clinical team each day, providing direct individual services to consumers and clinicians. This outreach approach ensures that anyone anywhere within NSCCAHS has access to a vocational specialist. These VETE Consultants were recruited externally from the Area Health Services. They have all previously worked in vocational rehabilitation settings, with in-depth knowledge of the federal government funding, agencies, resources and access pathways. The VETE Services are funded by NSW Health under the Community Rehabilitation Program. NSCCAHS commenced VETE service delivery in February 2007 with 4 VETE Consultants covering all regions. In the 2 years of offering the service, 415 positive vocational outcomes were recorded (58.2% from a total of 713 services completed). Each consultant has a caseload of around 80 active consumers at any one time.