User Employment Programme FAQs

Click on a frequently asked question below to find the answer:

Who co-ordinates the User Employment Programme (UEP)?

The UEP is co-ordinated by:

Racheal Reid , Employment Specialist, on 07771 434 331 or

Rash Patel , Deputy Vocational Services Manager, on 020 3317 2997 or 07840 169 707 or

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Who can access the programme?

You can access the UEP if you are a current service user of Central and North West London NHS Trust (CNWL) mental health services.

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How can I get a referral to the programme?

If you would like to begin a placement with the UEP:

  • You can self-refer ; or talk to your care co-ordinator or consultant about them referring you
  • You can then ring the UEP team to discuss the referral
  • Or, you can email a referral to

You’ll be sent a letter within five working days and your referrer (if you have one) will get an email giving you a date for an initial interview.

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What if I don’t want to do a placement?

We can support you to apply for a job even if you don’t do a placement. But you need to be actively looking for paid employment already. The User Employment Programme can only help you apply for jobs within CNWL. If you’re interested in jobs outside CNWL your local employment services will be able to advise you.

You can access the UEP team when you’re applying for a specific job within CNWL and need some support.

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What is the difference between work placements and volunteering?

Placements are time-limited and focus on helping you to get paid employment. Your placement will be set up with clear goals and objectives, which will be reviewed regularly. While you are in a work placement you’ll be required to actively job seek to make sure you gain paid employment.

Volunteering posts are not time-limited. There are usually no specific goals related to getting back to employment. However, you may decide while you are volunteering that you would like to start looking for paid employment. You can access employment support at that stage.

If you’re interested in volunteering it would be useful to look at websites like Volunteering EnglandCSV (the UK volunteering and social action charity) or the Greater London Assembly's Team London. You can also contact the volunteering service in your local borough.

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How long does it take to set up a work placement?

We aim to set up a placement as quickly as possible, but sometimes it can take six to eight weeks. We make sure we keep everyone informed about progress throughout this time.

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What types of placements can be offered?

Placements can be offered in a wide range of roles which already exist within the Trust. These could be within our corporate departments, such as Finance or Human Resources, or in a clinical setting – for instance, a health worker or administrative role in a community or hospital team. 

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How long will a placement last?

The length of a placement varies according to your needs and those of the placement provider. They’re usually between six weeks (minimum) and three months (maximum). Work placements are set up to support you to get paid employment. We don’t encourage people to stay in placements long-term.

All placements are reviewed regularly. We aim to support both you and your placement provider to get the most out of your time with them and to address any challenges that may occur, as well as helping you to look for paid employment during your placement.

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How many hours per week will I be on work placement?

We suggest you commit to working for between 8-25 hours each week. You may wish to increase your hours gradually during the placement. The UEP team and your placement provider will work with you to identify your goals and the tasks you will complete during your placement, so that you can build your skills and confidence and move towards paid employment.

You’ll also need to put time aside for job-seeking each week. Many employers (including CNWL managers) will look favourably on the fact that you have completed a work placement to help you become more competitive for your paid employment goal, as this demonstrates your motivation and commitment.

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What paperwork needs to be done before I can start?

We make sure that all relevant paperwork is completed as soon as possible to avoid any delays. The UEP team will be responsible for completing an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check for placements involving contact with patients. In some circumstances you may be able start the placement whilst the DBS is pending.

We’ll also contact your consultant and GP, liaise with Occupational Health as required and get in touch with your referees (where relevant) with your consent.

Once this has been done we’ll work with you to draw up a work placement plan, which will be sent to everyone involved in setting up your placement. You’ll be given a job description and we’ll complete an in work support plan together. 

The UEP team will liaise with Human Resources to arrange your ID badge. We will help the service you are placed with to complete your local training and induction.

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What support will the UEP provide while I'm on placement?

We will be available to provide support and problem solving to you and your line manager. We’ll ask you to keep in touch via email, telephone and face-to-face meetings so that any issues that may come up can be dealt with promptly.

We review your placement regularly. We’ll have a meeting with you and your manager at the end of the first two weeks, and then every six weeks afterwards. This is to make sure that everyone is getting the most out of the placement and that you are moving closer to your goal of paid employment.

We’ll also meet you regularly to support you in managing any difficulties at work and to set ongoing objectives. We will also encourage you to complete the Surviving and Thriving at Work booklet, which helps people to identify how they can self-manage at work and get the right support from their local supervisor. 

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Will my travel expenses be paid?

Most service users have a freedom pass and don't pay for travel. If you haven't got one, your work placement manager will decide whether they are able to reimburse you. The UEP team will work with you to think about how you’ll manage your money.

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What happens if I need time off work?

You need to go to work on all the days you have agreed and to treat the placement like a paid job. The placement has an effect on any future references you might ask for. But we know that on occasions you may need to take time off because of ill health, or for personal reasons. You should phone your supervisor when you have unplanned days off and keep your employment specialist informed. They should both give you their contact details.

If you need a significant amount of time off you may have to end the placement early.

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What about confidentiality?

Candidates on the programme are honorary employees of CNWL and must adhere to NHS codes of conduct and polices. A confidentiality agreement is part of your placement plan. You will need to sign it to say that anything you hear or see within your workplace will not be communicated externally. We will explain the Trust’s confidentiality policy to everyone involved in your placement.

Sometimes service users may have concerns that the team or department they are placed in might have access to their clinical records. We can set up a system to ensure that your clinical data records can only be accessed by your care team. We will discuss this with each individual and their placement provider and care team.

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Who will know about my mental health?

Everyone using the UEP will have a personal information plan outlining what information they’re happy to share with their placement provider about their mental health and other health or personal issues. When the placement is being planned we'll discuss this plan with you and your manager to make sure they know exactly what you would like them to say to your co-workers.

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Contact details:

Address: 180 Kilburn Park Road, London, NW6 5FA
Phone: 020 3317 5132

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