Life as a Job Coach: Lucy’s story
Over the course of the past year, Lucy worked as a Team Domenica Job Coach, supporting two candidates as they learnt about the workplace.
Both of these young people, Bryon and Charlotte [pictured right alongside Lucy], received offers of paid employment after successfully completing their supported internships. Lucy couldn’t be prouder!
Please read on to learn more about the role of a Job Coach and how they create futures for young people with learning disabilities…
Hey Lucy – please may you explain the role of a Job Coach?
The aim of a Job Coach is to support young people with learning disabilities into real paid work in order to achieve their full potential and employment aspirations. The support provided can be very diverse and is totally dependent on the individual needs of the candidate and employer. During their internships I have provided a wide range of support to my candidates such as teaching practical work based skills, providing visual resources to help develop independence, given strategies to improve time keeping as well as motivational and emotional support.
Job Coaches also provide a crucial link between the candidate and employer, giving employers advice and the practical tools needed to best support their candidate. This happens on an ongoing basis and at regular review meetings. I also communicate regularly with parents giving them updates on any issues, changes and significant achievements.
That’s great! And what does your average day/week look like?
The job coach role shifts throughout the placement and tends to be more hands on to begin with. As the candidate masters skills and becomes more confident, the Job Coach can gradually fade their support allowing the candidate to thrive and develop independence.
Typically I work with each candidate for four-hour shifts, twice a week. At the beginning of the placement I tend to meet my candidate just before the shift starts to chat about the day ahead. An average shift may involve some practical 1:1 teaching of tasks, time chatting to employers about strategies, shadowing the candidate and intervening if necessary, observing the candidate and writing notes as well as writing a daily report.
Job Coaches also meet with their candidates weekly to reflect on how they are doing in a journal and set targets for the following week. Other aspects of the role include regular team meetings, review meetings and communicating with other professionals such as occupational therapists and Team Domenica staff.
How about any issues that may arise, how do you overcome them?
The role of a Job Coach is not always straight forward and hitches can arise along the way! As a Job Coach it is important to think positively and try to look for solutions to solve any problems that may come about. Understandably it can sometimes be tricky for employers to understand learning disabilities; particularly when the disability is hidden.
Recently I have worked alongside Team Domenica colleagues and my candidates to formulate a One Page Profile detailing relevant information about the young person including their unique qualities/ interests and handy strategies to use to support them. We have shared these with employers who have already commented on how useful the profile has been in order to help them get the best out of candidates in the workplace.
And finally, what is your favourite part about being a Job Coach?
There are so many rewarding aspects of being a Job Coach and it has been lovely to get to know two amazing young adults who have been a delight to spend time with and who have so much to offer to the world of work. It feels particularly amazing when a candidate suddenly takes off and no longer needs your support, one of my proudest moments has to be when one of my candidates said, “I’m not being rude Lucy but I really don’t want a Job Coach any more!”.
It has also been great when members of the public comment on how amazing they feel a candidate’s customer service has been – especially in the form of reviews on Trip Advisor or through tips!
Positive feedback from colleagues and managers also makes all the hard work very worthwhile. Of course, the moment my candidates were offered paid work was the biggest highlight of all!
Job Coaches are an integral part of a candidate’s journey to paid employment and, as a collective, they work so hard to provide bespoke support to each and every young person we support.
Our Job Coaches bring a wealth of experience and skill, from a variety of backgrounds, and regularly go above and beyond to ensure the candidates achieve success.
We truly appreciate and value their compassion and commitment.
Amanda Thompson, Job Coach and Employment Coordinator