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Skills and employment

Employment support for adults with physical or mental health conditions

Employment Directions

Employment Directions is a person-centred service offering all-round employment support to anyone who has visited a GP, pharmacist, or any other primary care service within the last 90 days for a physical or mental health condition. The service supports adults who are looking for a new job, struggling to stay in employment, or would like support to get back to work after a period of time off sick. It is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and delivered by Cheshire West and Chester Council with local NHS partners.

What support is available?

Employment Directions can give you the support you need to access a good-quality job and thrive in work for up to 12 months. You can talk to your GP, pharmacist, or other primary care provider about a referral, or you can refer yourself. Employment Directions offers the following support:

  • Regular one-to-one appointments with an employment specialist to help you find work, continue working, or manage a health condition at work
  • Help with job applications, CVs, and interview skills, to find a job that suit your skills and employment goals
  • Help with talking to an employer about your needs at work, and support in work with your role if needed
  • Support with better off in work calculations. This includes guidance with finding support for housing and debt advice and much more

Eligibility criteria:

  • Aged 16 or over
  • Have a physical or mental health disability as defined by the Equality Act 2010
  • Want support to remain in work or find work
  • Have the right to live and work in the UK
  • Can be on or not on benefits
  • If claiming benefits, not on any other DWP funded provision (such as our Supported Employment Service)
  • Have the right to access public funds

If you would like to be referred for Employment Directions, talk to your GP or other healthcare provider or self-refer through the email address below:


Find out more about Employment Directions by watching our video:

Employment Directions on YouTube

Employment mentoring

Employment mentors at our Work Zones provide one to one support to help you find employment. Mentors will help you decide what are you best options, choose courses and improve your skills. When you are ready to apply for jobs your mentor can help you create a CV, fill out an application and prepare for interview.

Our employment mentors can offer advice and direct you to other specialist services to help you deal with any barriers that may be preventing you getting a job.

You can also volunteer as an employment mentor by visiting our volunteering page.

Supported internships

Available to 16-24 year olds with special educational needs or disabilities, a supported internship is an individualised programme to help you find work. The structured study programme includes preparation for work through a tailored employability qualification and on-the-job training. Support is provided to enhance personal development and social skills. Learners will also undertake additional training in maths, English and IT.

A Supported Internship will last for up to one year, with the young person’s time spent predominantly at an employer’s premises and one day a week at a Cheshire West and Chester Work Zone adult training centre, where they will be studying an employability qualification alongside maths, English and IT.

For more information

Supported internships email

Employment Advisors in Talking Therapies

The Central and West Cheshire Talking Therapies service can refer those experiencing mental health issues – such as anxiety or depression – to a team of specialist Employment Advisors (EAs) to help with employment issues. The main focus of an EA is to provide practical advice and support to enable a client to gain and remain in employment.

Employment Advisors in Talking Therapies was designed as an integrated employment and mental health service to improve both mental wellbeing and occupational outcomes. EAs work alongside therapists to provide support such as:

  • Supporting clients looking for work with Job Search, Reviewing CVs, providing advice on job applications, career choices and improving interview technique to help people find work
  • Looking at educational and training opportunities that can support clients to further their career prospects
  • Working with clients to support them to disclose their mental health status in the workplace
  • Working with clients who are in work to improve their working relationships with their colleagues and managers, to secure reasonable adjustments and to improve working practices
  • Working with clients who are in work to understand their workplace triggers and build strategies for addressing these so they can thrive
  • Building links with employers to identify suitable vacancies and help individuals remain in or return to work
  • Providing Money Guidance to clients and help them access other social support
  • Running workshops and events to engage with employers and the wider community

In the first six months of financial year 2022-2023, 34% of clients were out of work and 66% were in work, including those who were off sick at the start of their support.