Youth Individual Placement and Support Centre of Excellence
Orygen has expanded its capacity to innovate and support quality Individual Placement and Support (IPS) programs for more young people by establishing a Youth IPS Centre of Excellence in 2020.
This recognises the expertise and leadership of our organisation in developing and advocating for IPS programs in Australia. Orygen’s youth-focused IPS centre of excellence drives innovation and best practice through research; implementation and fidelity support; workforce training, conferences and scholarship opportunities; and engagement of employers and education providers in IPS.
The Youth Individual Placement and Support Centre of Excellence aims to support expansion of IPS into mental health services across Australia while continuing to explore enhancements to IPS to maximise its benefits for young people.
Orygen has extensive experience implementing IPS programs in primary care and specialised mental health settings, including trialling IPS enhanced by vocational peer work. Our team has presented IPS research at several national and international conferences and have received numerous awards and recognition for its achievements in this area.
Individual Placement and Support (IPS) involves the co-location of vocational specialists with mental health treatment teams who work collaboratively to support young people with mental ill-health into work and study. IPS is the most evidence-based and effective supported employment and education program used in mental health services worldwide.
The IPS model is based on eight core principles:
- Focus on competitive employment. Competitive employment is that which pays at least a competitive wage, is based in community settings and is not a job that is reserved for people with disabilities.
- Zero exclusion. Every person with mental ill-health who wants to work is eligible for IPS supported employment, regardless of their circumstances.
- IPS Programs are integrated with mental health treatment teams. IPS specialists are integrated with multidisciplinary teams which share information to aid functional recovery.
- Attention to participants’ preferences. IPS program services are based on each job seeker’s preferences and choices rather than the employment specialist’s and supervisor’s judgments.
- Personalised benefits counselling. Recognising that the loss of income support is a major reason that participants may not want to seek employment, IPS emphasises the provision of guidance regarding income support.
- Rapid job search. IPS programs use a rapid job search approach to help job seekers obtain jobs rather than undertaking lengthy assessments, pre-employment training, and counselling.
- Systematic job development. IPS providers focus upon building relationships with employers to learn about their business needs and hiring preferences and ensure jobs are based on the participant preferences.
- Time-unlimited and individualised support. Support is tailored to each participant and continued for as long as the participants wants and needs.
Source: IPS Supported Employment Center website, 2021.
IPS vocational specialists spend a large portion of their time in the community, creating and maintaining networks with employers, education providers and other career support services to create new opportunities for young people in the program.
Orygen has been implementing youth-focussed IPS through a range of randomised control trials and direct service delivery since 2005 and offered a modified version of IPS enhanced by youth vocational peer workers from 2016–2020. Orygen’s clinical program currently delivers IPS in headspace centres and specialist youth mental health services in the West and North West region of Melbourne.