“COVID restrictions will catapult us five years into a digital future.”
These were the thoughts of Fife Council’s Supported Employment Service pre COVID lockdown. Based on this view, the service began to redesign every aspect of delivery on the assumption that COVID impacts would be much more than just a temporary blip in the traditional methods of client engagement writes Angela Hamilton, Team Manager of Fife Council’s Positive Pathways Supported Employment Service and SUSE Board Member.
In the two weeks before March 23rd 2020, staff were consulted on the risks of a COVID lockdown and the challenges of remote communication for the service, staff and clients. With all previous activities reliant on face to face engagement we realised the extent of this challenge. We applied our “supported employment” skills and attributes to find a way forward into an uncertain future…never say never, lateral thinking, problem solving, solution finding- all previously used to help people find and stay in work, now brought to the fore to ensure we had a viable service in this new world. When the lock down hit, we were able to implement a supported employment framework fit for purpose in this “new” world. And very soon, the “new” way just became the “now” way.
In the two weeks following March 23rd we captured data on the immediate effects of COVID and sent questionnaires to staff and clients to give them a chance to put forward their views/concerns and ideas on the challenges we were facing. An analysis of the responses has been captured in a report that shows the changes, challenges and opportunities for our service as we “move to recovery.”
One thing is certain. Our move to recovery will not be finding ways to return to normal. The service has changed, and we have found opportunities to do things differently and dare we say, better in some instances.
Click here to downloadCOVID 19 Client and Staff Impact Report - Fife Council
Fife Supported Employment Service - Covid 19 Update
Fife Council - Positive Pathways - Covid 19 Update
Fife Council - Employers - Covid 19 Update