More Jobs for Mentally Ill in Penrith Region

Thu May 2, 2013

JOBS APLENTY FOR PEOPLE WITH A MENTAL ILLNESS IN PENRITH REGION

One of Australia’s foremost service providers for people with a mental illness is defying shaky economic conditions by increasing the amount of jobs on offer in the Penrith region.

RichmondPRA, which provides community-based support for people with a mental illness, is expanding its Penrith and St Mary’s-based community business program, given the recent success the program has had in placing people into jobs.

The local supported job program operates a social emterprise – called EnterPRAise - providing gardening, cleaning and home and business maintenance services.

Under the expansion, the EnterPRAise outlets in Penrith and St Marys will be increasing the number of supported jobs on offer for people with a mental illness.

RichmondPRA is now calling for applicants to fill these jobs.

The positions on offer are typically supported ‘transitional’ jobs that provide a leg-up into the workforce for people who are living with a severe illness such as depression, schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder.

Vocational services are tied into the program to give each employee a tailor-made chance of excelling. Training, mentorship, direction and friendship are provided. Complementary education through TAFE is encouraged, as is shifting up to tertiary education.

More importantly, the ability to interact with other workers, achieve goals and make a productive contribution provides a tremendous boost for participants’ self-esteem and sense of worth, helping their recovery journey.

RichmondPRA CEO Pam Rutledge said that mental illness is one of the biggest barriers to achieving employment in Australia, and people with a mental illness are more likely to experience stigma and be unemployed than many other people.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to see unemployed people affected by psychiatric illness get an employment foothold with such programs,” RichmondPRA CEO Pam Rutledge said.

“It’s important that we are offering local jobs to local people, because distance can often present another barrier to people with a mental illness securing and remaining in jobs.

“These opportunities provide people with a bolstered sense of purpose, identity, belonging and wellbeing. With the right guidance and support a range of opportunities open up and participants’ start to view the future with optimism.

“There might be a lot of talk of economic doom and gloom at the moment, but it’s all systems go as far as RichmondPRA job opportunities in the Penrith region are concerned.

“That’s why we’re expanding our local program to ensure we continue assisting consumers to find jobs.”

Across the Sydney metropolitan region, RichmondPRA currently has 334 supported positions as part of its employment programs.

Testimony to the success of the employment programs is the fact that more than 91 per cent of the positions are currently full.

RichmondPRA’s employment and vocational services are subsidised by the Commonwealth Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, meaning they are required to meet a rigorous set of service standards.

RichmondPRA is a not-for-profit organisation providing recovery focussed support programs, accommodation and hope for people with mental illness in New South Wales and Queensland. Advocating community-based assistance, it is a foremost mental health support provider that has been in operation for more than 55 years.

Anyone in the Penrith region wanting to apply for an EnterPRAise job should contact RichmondPRA Vocational Services, (02) 9701 3600 / vocationalservices@richmondpra.org.au

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