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Mental health graduate programme seeking new staff in Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 11:00 25 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:55 27 February 2020

Do you think you could help people in your community improve their mental health     Picture: Roger Bool

Do you think you could help people in your community improve their mental health Picture: Roger Bool

Roger Bool - All Rights Reserved

Think Ahead is looking for graduates who want to help transform the lives of people in Ipswich.

Gain a fully-funded master's degree with Think Ahead     Picture: Roger BoolGain a fully-funded master's degree with Think Ahead Picture: Roger Bool

A mental health charity is looking for graduates who want to make a difference to the lives of people in Ipswich. The Think Ahead programme is a paid two-year fast-track scheme, and is one of the UK's most competitive graduate programmes. It offers graduates and career-changers a direct route into a career as a mental health social worker.

Mental health social workers work with people with mental ill-health to improve social factors in their lives - including relationships, housing, and employment - to enable them to get well and stay well.

Ivan Wise, recruitment director at Think Ahead, said: "We're looking for remarkable individuals, from a range of backgrounds, who are passionate about creating positive change in society and want a career where they can play their part in tackling the UK's mental health challenge.

"Mental health social work is a varied and challenging role that involves building relationships with people with mental illnesses, advocating for them and empowering them to make positive changes in their own lives."

Think Ahead helps to transform the lives of others      Picture: Roger BoolThink Ahead helps to transform the lives of others Picture: Roger Bool

The Think Ahead programme is aimed at candidates with a 2:1 or higher degree in any subject (except social work), and offers on-the-job training to successful applicants.

There are no fees for the programme, which starts in the summer of 2020, and all qualifications are fully funded.

More than 400 people have joined the programme since it started in 2016 - some recent graduates and others who have been in the workplace for some time. Previous recruits have held degrees in subjects ranging from psychology, sociology, and politics to archaeology, drama and sports science.

Think Ahead's selection process is based on how well candidates are able to demonstrate the attributes needed to succeed on the programme and beyond.

Be inspired to help ohers with Think Ahead    Picture: Roger BoolBe inspired to help ohers with Think Ahead Picture: Roger Bool

That includes a mixture of leadership, motivation, adaptability, relationship-building, communication and problem-solving skills, as well as a good degree of self-awareness.

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Think Ahead partners with NHS Trusts and Local Authorities across England, and there are expected to be a limited number of places available in Ipswich for 2020.

If you're eligible you should apply as soon as possible, giving your preferred location, so Think Ahead can try to match you to a partner trust in the county.

If accepted, you'll embark on a new career where you can make a real difference to the lives of adults with mental health problems. You'll receive a tax-free training bursary of between £17,000 and £19,000 in your first 14 months, and then become a newly-qualified salaried social worker, paid by the NHS Trust or Local Authority employing you. You'll also gain a fully funded master's degree.

Successful applicants will start the programme at a residential Summer Institute in July this year, and join their host organisation full-time in September. Apply now at thinkahead.org

Why is it important that we address the national mental health challenge?

Mental health is an urgent national challenge, with reports showing that one in four adults in England have a mental illness, meaning that a third of families now include someone with a mental health problem.

Overall, for people under 65, nearly 40% of all ill-health is caused by mental illness.

Improving people's mental health can transform their lives. It also helps families and friends, who take on great responsibilities supporting their loved ones.

Research shows that between one-third and two-thirds of children whose parents have mental health problems go on to experience mental ill-health themselves.

Overall, through its impacts on people's physical health, wellbeing, and ability to work, mental ill-health costs the UK economy around £100bn a year.

Supporting people with mental illness is not just good for the individual; it benefits society as a whole, and mental health social workers are a key component in addressing the country's mental health challenge. Applications are open for the Think Ahead programme in 2020. Apply now here


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