Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Employment Services 

About us

We work closely with clinical teams and local employers and provide ongoing, individualised support as well as benefits counselling.

The service is provided by the Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust IPS Employment team and we pride ourselves on providing an individualised service to help find the right person for the right role.

Fernando Parra

Fernando Parra
Employment Specialist

Mobile: 07770318005

“I have worked in Employment Services for over 10 year and I have enjoyed my time helping people achieving their employment and professional goals. Before working in the Trust, I lived in Sydney Australia, where I worked for the Department of Health as a support worker helping disabled people. I also completed my Higher education and occupied more senior roles before leaving Australia. I like getting people jobs and help them staying in employment and I get a buzz when I hear someone has been successful after an interview. Mental health problems are debilitating and it can be very difficult to live with a long-term condition but I believe we can help individuals finding their way in life and support them to reach their full potential.

“I have enjoyed working with other services, particularly with colleges and training services as I have witnessed how important is to update your skills to achieve your goals in life. I have met many employers through the years and I also like getting involved in anything that might help individuals accomplish their objectives. We have a great and very experienced Team and we work well together. I hope we can keep helping people for many more years to come.”.

Hugo Poyser

Hugo Poyser
Employment Specialist

Mobile: 07814047042

“I have worked in the field of mental health for the last 14 years. Prior to joining the NHS as an Employment Specialist, I worked in the voluntary sector in mental health day services. My role as a mental health worker over the years has covered everything from doing assessments, signposting, advocacy, attending CPA reviews and running therapeutic activities and providing one-to-ones.

“For the latter part of my work in the voluntary sector, my role was as a peer development worker, which involved supporting peer volunteers to run their own groups delivering activities for which they have a passion for. As part of this, I provided ongoing supervisions and coordinated the activity programme. I also assisted with the delivery of the peer volunteer training programme.

“I also had a close working relationship with the NHS Recovery College and linked many peer volunteers into the Journeys to Recovery course which is based on the CHIME Recovery model (Connect, Hope, Identity, Meaning, Empowerment).

“I am excited to be working in the mental health field with my central focus now being vocational support. The IPS model has shown that supporting adults with serious mental health conditions to secure meaningful paid employment is empowering to the individual in their recovery journey”.

Jamie Hamilton

Jamie Hamilton
Employment Specialist

Mobile: 07970-898370

My name is Jamie Hamilton, I am an Employment Specialist for the Tewkesbury and Gloucester area.

“I have an Occupational Therapy background and my aim is to support you in your employment journey. Previously I worked with young people with Autism or learning disabilities to attain employability skills as well as work placements in sectors they are interested in. I have also worked in acute mental health settings supporting people with activities of daily living or meaningful activities to aid their recovery. I have experience of working in a chronic fatigue clinic facilitating programmes to enable people to successfully manage their condition.

“I have worked in a variety of settings for adults and children with physical or learning disabilities for over 20 years. In my spare time I enjoy a variety of sports, although I am more of a spectator rather than a player these days!”

Jane Triber

Jane Triber
Employment Specialist

Mobile: 07964 871 531

“I have been working in Employment Services for over 5 years. I have a varied career history including in mental health, social services and supported living.

“I worked as an Independent Mental Health Act Advocate (IMHAA) for several years, supporting individuals who were often on a MHA section in hospital and they needed a voice regarding their treatment.

“I am passionate about supporting people to make their own choices towards their recovery. Employment is an integral part of this.”

Julie Panthin

Julie Panthin
Employment Specialist

Mobile: 07970 279479

“I work within the Tewkesbury and Gloucester Community Mental Health Teams.   I have worked in Mental Health for a number of years and also have extensive social work experience within children and families and fostering and adoption.  I also ran my own business for 9 years as a fitness and nutrition coach both in London and Gloucestershire.

“I am passionate about supporting people to gain meaningful employment and believe that employment can add significant value to people lives and give them purpose, structure, enjoyment, learning, social interaction, skills, opportunities as well as an income and other added benefits. I enjoy working closely with my clients to help them to find the right job and believe that, with the proper support, the majority of people can find meaningful employment”.

Karen Hogarty-Hingston

Karen Hogarty-Hingston
Employment Specialist

Mobile 07790 555204

“I have worked in mental health in England for 20 years after relocating from South Africa 21 years ago. I am based in Cirencester and support clients with enduring mental health in the secondary services to get paid employment.

“Prior to this I worked at Hartpury University as the Student Welfare Manager and as a counsellor for 10 years, managing a team which consisted of counsellors, youth workers, peer mentors and the chaplain as well as providing individual counselling and advice for all students at the University.

“Before moving to England, I worked in a number of different professions across a number of different countries in Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa. These include: writing for newspapers, working in advertising, working as travel consultant, running a restaurant and as a property consultant.

“As well as having an abundance of mental health experience, I bring this diversity of job skills to assist my clients to be able to obtain paid jobs, as well as using that employment wisdom gained in the many different fields of work, to educate and work with employers to encourage them to support clients and make the necessary adjustments to enable them to stay in work.

“I am passionate about supporting people with managing their mental health and empowering them to be able to live the best life they can and in doing this also breaking the stigma around mental health in the work place.”

Kenneth Kwogyenga

Kenneth Kwogyenga
Lead Employment Specialist

Mobile: 07970 880285


“I am the Lead Employment Specialist of this esteemed team, comprising of highly qualified and specialised professionals with very rich experience from eclectic backgrounds. I have a lot of experience working within the statutory and the third Sector, including serving with Her Majesty’s Armed Forces as a British soldier. Furthermore, I spent so many years in the supported housing sector managing and empowering vulnerable military veterans overcome multiple complexities and challenges in their lives, not least unemployment, mental health difficulties, drug and substance misuse, family breakdown, alcohol abuse, navigating the criminal justice system, social isolation and homelessness.

“I enjoy learning, exploring new things and empowering people, which led me into studying mental health recovery and social inclusion. I have always been a keen advocate of the ‘Mental Health Recovery Model’ to which I strongly believe that a sense of personal resilience to adversities, the importance of having meaning, purpose and routine, of cultural practices and identity, social connectedness and resilient relationships, a sense of coherence and control, adaptability and resourcefulness, and importance of the natural environment, physical activity and spending time doing things we enjoy, aids in our mental health recovery journeys.

“I enjoy my role because I thrive in seeing my clients enjoy a fulfilling life by being able to secure and sustain competitive employment as a result of my input and support from the whole team, coupled with the support we offer to employers as a whole”.

Lisa Bailey


Lisa Bailey
Employment Specialist

Mobile: 07900 052665

“Throughout my working life I have experienced a diverse range of occupations; from chef and catering manager for a large pharmaceutical company which included managing and hiring staff, managing accounts, and business growth to gardener at a Military Cemetery requiring attention to detail and physical endurance.

“I have experienced challenging roles such as providing a welfare service to British and International Forces in Kosovo, where working conditions were difficult and limited resources meant a reliance on networking and relationship building. However, I also witnessed first-hand how employment underpins our lives through the hiring of local staff who had lost so much during the conflict.

“I went on to have a career within the fitness industry starting, as a gym instructor and progressing to personal trainer and specialist instructor within an Exercise Referral Scheme. I thoroughly enjoyed my role of delivering specialist exercise classes, working one to one with individuals looking to make positive lifestyle changes, developing projects; and networking with GP’s and stakeholders and engaging the local community.

“I then chose to go back to university, graduating with a degree in Occupational Therapy in 2018 and am currently in the last stages of an MSc in Rehabilitation. After university I worked for a mental health charity supporting people one to one on their recovery journey and delivering groups on managing mental health. When a temporary role for an Occupational Therapist became available at my local sub-acute community hospital I took the opportunity. A few months later I found myself working on the frontline during a pandemic and experienced the camaraderie and pride of being part of the NHS.

“Throughout my various job roles one thing has always stood out; the importance of work when it comes to good mental health. The right job not only brings us an income and independence but also offers social interaction, opportunities and empowerment. I followed this interest and now work as an Employment Specialist. I am looking forward to supporting individuals to find and retain their ideal job, so they too can experience the benefits of employment”.

Naomi Willmott

Naomi Willmott
Team Manager

Mobile: 07813 359595

“Prior to becoming the Team Manager, I was an Employment Specialist working in the Forest of Dean. I was able to understand the challenges of working in a rural location and impact this had on gaining employment. I worked alongside other organisations to try and pool resources.

“I am a Mental Health Nurse and started working for Gloucester Health and Care NHS Trust when I qualified in 2004.  I worked on an acute ward before working as a Bank nurse on the wards and an inpatient Occupational Therapy department. It was during my time in the Occupational Therapy department that I started to have an interest in employment.

“I enjoy my job and get great satisfaction from hearing of the challenges our clients have face and how many of them are able to overcome these with support from Employment Specialists. My own belief is that being in the right job role gives a sense of achievement, pride, opportunities as well as a challenge. The variety of the clients we work with and situations they face makes the work varied and interesting.

“I am fortunate to work in a team which have diverse staff from different backgrounds who are all able to bring unique skills and knowledge to the team”.


Tim Snapes

Tim Snapes
Employment Specialist

Mobile: 07810 831748

I am an experienced IPS Employment Specialist with a demonstrated history of working in various industries including the hospital, wellbeing and health care industry including primary & secondary mental health, coupled with micro-business and SME start-ups and their development as IPS MSME Gloucestershire Team Champion.

“I am skilled in IBM SPSS, Microsoft applications, business & vocational coaching, coupled with executive & positive psychology coaching, basic CBT (IAPT) and CBC training, team building, public speaking and target achievement such as employment and retention and talent development and career progression.

“I am experienced in human behaviour, training and development professional with a MSc focused in Occupational Psychology which was accredited by the British Psychology Society (BPS). I am also a full member of the Division of Occupational Psychology (DOP, BPS).

“Other interests include Art & Design; overseas travel; national & international non-profit organisations (NPOs); Ethics & Humanistic Leadership in contemporary business”.

Vicky Vacara

Vicky Vacara
Employment Specialist

Mobile: 07816 224480

“I have worked in the Care Industry for the last 30 years.  I have experience of working within both Learning Disabilities and Mental Health Services and I feel passionately that paid work or meaningful activity can significant contribute to a person’s recovery, wellbeing and self-esteem.

“I feel honoured to work as an Employment Specialist and I enjoy meeting clients and supporting them to achieve their work-related goals.

“My role also involves working with employers to ensure that the needs of people with Mental Health problems are considered within the work place. I endeavour for all employer contact to contribute to the ongoing breakdown of mental illness stigma within the work place.

“In my spare time I enjoy walking my dog, wild swimming and yoga”.

Lee Clifford

Lee Clifford
Team Administrator

Telephone: 01452 894865

“I am proficient with several systems such as ESR, Centros and Microsoft Office packages, I provide administrative and IT support for the team. I have previously worked for the Wye Valley NHS Trust in Herefordshire. I started there when I was 18 years of age on a Level 2 Business Administration apprenticeship. Following the completion of my apprenticeship I was taken on full-time as an administrative assistant for the Education & Development Team.  I subsequently went on to complete NVQs in Business Administration Levels 3 and 4. I have over 10-years-experience in administration in the NHS.

“I joined the IPS Employment Service in March 2021. I wanted a new experience and being a part of a Mental Health service was something that really appealed to me. By helping people with Mental Health difficulties find or retain employment, the team are able to give a sense of purpose, wellbeing and routine to their lives. Employment can also provide a sense of social community and financial independence. All of these things are of great benefit to the individual and to the wider community. I found these qualities really commendable and really attracted me to the role.

“It is also wonderful to be a part of a team that is comprised of different backgrounds and a wealth of experience who can come together to make quality and compassionate service. I enjoy helping people and trying to make a positive difference to their lives (no matter how small) which is why I am proud to work for this team and the NHS in general”.

Contact us

Call 01452 894865

Looking for work?

Our IPS specialists provide advice and practical support to help our clients find employment and enjoy the benefits that brings.

If you are a working-age adult with a serious mental health illness and you currently receive support from Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Secondary Mental Health Services, we can help you find paid part-time or full-time employment opportunities. We work closely with clinical teams and local employers and provide ongoing, individualised support as well as benefits counselling.

We know that the right employment can help with your recovery from a serious mental health illness, by providing financial stability, independence as well as opportunities to meet new people and be part of a team.  A structured, fulfilling day can help improve health and wellbeing and can build your self-esteem.

The service is provided by the Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust IPS Employment Services and we pride ourselves on providing an individualised service to help find the right role for the right person, regardless of job experience.

We know that getting into employment can be a vital part of your recovery journey and our Employment Specialists work alongside mental health nurses, social workers and psychologists to help you get into work, to stay healthy and to retain the work.

We provide a range of practical support, including:  

  • Job searches
  • Support to write CVs, cover letters and personal statements
  • Support to access benefits advice
  • Support to apply for jobs and prepare for job interviews
  • Support to sustain and retain employment
  • Support to build confidence around returning to work

Start your career with IPS today

Employment should be part of getting better, not a result of getting better. If you are receiving treatment from the Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust services such as the Assertive Outreach Team, Eating Disorder team, GRIP or the Recovery Team and are aged over 18 and willing to start an active job search for paid work within 4 weeks of your first IPS appointment, you can get a referral to our service from:

  • Your care coordinator
  • Your community psychiatric nurse
  • Your recovery worker
  • Your key worker

Looking for employees?

We can help your business to be inclusive, socially responsible and to attract skilled, motivated, productive and conscientious workers.

If you are looking for conscientious, skilled workers and are committed to tackling discrimination in your workplace, we can help you.

Attracting talented individuals

Many people with a mental health issue have valuable work skills and experience and can manage their condition so it has no impact on their ability to do their job.

Ignorance, stigma and discrimination can be major obstacles for people with mental health issues, but with our support, our clients are productive and fulfilled employees.

Our Employment Specialists support clients and employers for as long as required. We work with employers to ensure you make the most of individuals’ skills and experience.

We can also help you comply with legislation, including the Disability Discrimination Act plus we provide free work-based training and support in managing mental health.

It is a win-win as through our support, our clients are better able  to support your business, have increased productivity and reduced sickness rates. Your workforce may feel more supported and able to discuss issues and ideas with you!

How it works

We work closely with clinical teams and local employers and provide ongoing, individualised support as well as benefits counselling.

The service is provided by the Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust IPS Employment team and we pride ourselves on providing an individualised service to help find the right person for the right role.

Read some of our success stories

Making a difference for our clients

Karen IPSKaren Hogarty-Hingston is an Employment Specialist within our IPS team. Employment specialists like Karen can work with you to help your business to be inclusive, socially responsible and to attract skilled, motivated, productive and conscientious workers free of charge to both you and your employee.

Our Employment Specialists work alongside clinicians at our Trust to help service users get into work, to stay healthy and to retain the work. They also help with job searching, job applications, CV writing, interview preparation, in work support, including self-employment.

If you would like to find out more, contact our IPS team

Karen has worked in mental health in England for 20 years after relocating from South Africa 21 years ago. Based in Cirencester, she supports clients with enduring mental health in the secondary services to get paid employment, to educate and work with employers to encourage them to support clients and make the necessary adjustments to enable them to stay in work.

“I am passionate about supporting people with managing their mental health and empowering them to be able to live the best life they can and in doing this also breaking the stigma around mental health in the work place.”

Here are just a few of our service users who Karen has supported:


Sheila’s recovery storySheila Halle jpg

This is my story! Back in 2015, I had a major breakdown which resulted in me having to leave my job. I was referred to the Mental Health team. This is when I met Karen Hogarty-Hingston. She was my inspiration! I had lost all of my confidence and had closed up but Karen coached me and helped me get through. She arranged an interview for me and I was offered the job straight away! I have been working there every since. I have become a stronger and more confident person and am very happy in my work place. Without the help of Karen, I don’t think I could have done this. She made me the person I am today and I intend to keep moving forward. I cannot thank Karen enough for her help. She is a very warm, caring and approachable person; always there when I needed her. Thank you.


Kimberley Waldron jpgKimberley’s recovery story

I have worked with Karen for a few years now. When I started with her I was very unwell but I still needed to work. I didn’t l like my job at all but I needed to stay there to keep myself busy and of course I needed the money but I hated It. I met with Karen and told her my dream was to become a vet nurse or at least work with animals a dream that felt so far away as I’d tried for years to get my foot in the door.

Karen started by planning with me, a plan that seemed so able.  So slow but steady we started from the beginning. I also didn’t have the GCSE grades to even think about nurse training I told all this to Karen while making the plan and at the time I was extremely overwhelmed and didn’t know how to take the first step to get on this journey.

Within weeks Karen had me a place at an adult maths and English class. I was so anxious to go but Karen came with me if she wasn’t there I would have gone home. We continue to meet and chat and change the plan when needed. Karen worked on my CV with me and my confidence.

Karen rang after college to see how we could make my dream happen she always sent me jobs she found so I could apply then finally it happened the thing I never thought would I got a job as a Veterinary nursing assistant!  I couldn’t believe it after 9+ years stuck in a job I didn’t like I was on the first step to my dream.

It wasn’t easy.  I started and after a month COVID put a stop to it I was put on furlough. After going back, I was still struggling to adjust but I knew Karen was at the end of the phone so I wasn’t so lonely.  I also unfortunately had a little trouble with my head nurse at work. Karen was right behind me supporting me and offered support to my head nurse. If it wasn’t for Karen I wouldn’t still be there. So, I’m still in my job on my journey I’ve always dreamed of and still in my Math and English class.

The support I received from Karen is the only reason I am where I am. I’m not the easiest person to work with but unlike everyone else Karen never gave up on me even when I gave up on myself she fought for me when I couldn’t do it myself she listened to me when no one else would everyone gave up on me and she didn’t.  She has always been honest with me which I respect. I will never be able to repay her for all she’s done for me or thank her enough.

Marion’s recovery storyMarion Aylott jpg

By the time I met Karen in February 2013, I had a history of being off sick with stress, depression and anxiety and had failed reintroduction to each workplace resulting in what felt like being written off as collateral damage. I had literally been paid to leave four posts over a period of 13 years. Prior to this I was over ten years into what was shaping up to be a highly successful academic career when I became overwhelmed by pressures at work and felt bullied. I went from being a popular member of the team, leading modules for over 150 students, authoring books and making decisions, to being in my office watching the walls running with paint.

After periods of 4 -6 months, I repeatedly returned to the job I’d had. This is what I thought I needed to do – get back to work as quickly as possible. However, within months I relapsed and had to begin recovery all over again. Even after moving from three    Universities, I still didn’t have the energy to make a career change. But I told myself that because I’d had a rest, was doing well on medication, and had support from my partner, I would succeed through sheer effort. I went back to my job—and again couldn’t sustain being there.

Deeply discouraged, I spent the next few months searching, for another lecturing post in the effort to return to a semblance of the life I had before my mental health breakdown. My next job did offer conditions more supportive of mental health such as flexibility in work arrangements, an office of my own, important for hiding from colleagues when feeling low or threatened. Within 6 months, my old problem returned with vengeance and terminated with me at the top of a multi-storey car park being persuaded that my life was worthwhile by a kind woman police officer. Whilst I had experienced a few episodes of poor mental health before, nothing had been as bad as this. It was a frightening time as I didn’t understand what was happening to me, I felt alone and didn’t want to admit to myself or anyone else that I wasn’t coping and needed help. Instead, I had poured all my energy into covering up the way I felt. The only thing I could seem to understand was the harsh voice of rejection. This, along with exhaustion and despair, is what kept being presented to me. Plus, once again there was a general and widespread reluctance from the workforce to let me back in—in any capacity. In the depths of rejection, where bitterness and personal insecurity lie, I felt I was being singled out and punished by life. I was signed off work for four months after being diagnosed with anxiety and depression.

It was during this period, that Karen, my new mental health support person, challenged me to use this next period of sick leave to think about what factors hindered my successful return to employment. Karen helped me to realise that trying to return to the same job again and again had been a big factor in my illness. Also denying and ignoring my mother’s negative influence in my life that seemed too big to confront.

Karen supported me through thinking constructively about my future and consider what I enjoyed doing in life. Being in the company of dogs comprised my happiest moments and Karen encouraged me to consider pursuing work in this field. As a professional, this potential return to animal care presented a profound challenge to my ego. My ‘self’ has been built, to some extent, on achievement and education, and it can be hard to find daytime working hours, a willingness to accommodate part-time, limited exposure to the public, and considerate employers and fellow employees. These requirements for mental health were proving difficult to come by. I began to see clearly what I had been unable to see before: I didn’t have the fortitude, the grit, the confidence, or the stamina (physically or emotionally) to succeed at these jobs, I thought I did. But I didn’t. Karen helped me to appreciate that I still wasn’t work ready. Karen taught me that I was responsible for protecting myself from a situation where relapse is certain.

This next attempt to return to work was much different. Karen helped me to appreciate that we all tend to confuse work ‘needy’ with work ‘ready.’ We need work for all the usual reasons: money, purpose, diversion from our thoughts and emotions, dignity, and social interaction. After an anxious or depressive collapse, we have even greater need of these things. But being ready to take on the challenges of a workplace? That’s something different. Becoming ‘able’ to get through our everyday tasks is not enough. It’s much more a matter of vitality, of having resilience. Only when we regain our resilience are we fit to return to work.

Karen negotiated a planned return to work and integration back into the University once I felt able to return. Karen organised regular, in-person meetings with my employer and myself during the return-to-work process so that I knew what to expect and felt part of the process. Karen would always meet with me before these meetings off-site to ensure that I felt safe returning to the work environment. Karen negotiated a graduated return to work to support ongoing medical appointments, therapy sessions, fatigue, and self-care. Having Karen there as an advocate/support when attending these meetings and to speak to influence the attitude of the line manager. She emphasised the need to get the right balance between ensuring I was able to contribute without being put in a position where I could become ill again. Karen also did a debrief with me after the meeting. During these, Karen reassured me that feeling vulnerable is natural. The support I received has been incredible and I feel more comfortable expressing my feelings, fears, and vulnerabilities. I felt validated, understood, and supported.

I went back to work on an adjusted role but, with the goal of retraining to be a Canine Hydrotherapist and start my own business. This return to the old work was with a clear focus on the future. This time there was no relapse, no return to being anxious. Indeed, I was equally successful if not more than I had been in the ten years previously. So, it was a great business decision and a great personal decision for me. We looked at what factors would help me to regain the vitality to work as a hydrotherapist which included staying on the same medication dosage for two years minimum, attending to the ‘mother’ factors that wasn’t bringing joy, exercising, napping whenever I was tired, DIY, knitting and gardening (once I had enough energy) and exploring beautiful countryside and gardens.

Karen remained with me and saw me through to starting my new career and own business in December 2017. Whilst the business came to an end in March 2020 due to COVID-19, I didn’t relapse as I expected. I had learnt from Karen that when setbacks occur, this does not mean you have failed or are failing. I was able to close the business and take up a part-time post as Canine Hydrotherapist at a Veterinary Centre demonstrating the resilience I now have. Thanks to Karen, my life is very different now. I have learned how to manage my thoughts and emotions by putting into practice the tools and techniques that Karen showed me. I have prioritized the importance of sleep, nutrition and exercise for my overall physical and mental health and well-being and have clear boundaries for my work and personal life.

Cathy’s recovery story

Catherine was diagnosed in 2013 with PTSD, Anxiety, Depression and Agoraphobia which resulted in her being unable to speak to anyone other than her husband and children.
After being seen by a mental health nurse, Catherine was put in touch with Employment Specialist Karen Hogarty-Hingston from our IPS team.
“Straight away I felt like I could feel comfortable with her. For some reason she could see positive things in me that I could not see myself. Karen saw me as a strong person and that I had a great deal of fight in me but I couldn’t see it at the time. The first thing that I had to try and manage was getting out of the house, so with Karen’s help and patience and by letting me put the work in when I was ready, eventually I did it. I knew as well that if I had a bad day, it was okay and that I did not need to feel bad about it”.
With Karen’s support, Catherine set up her own baking business and got back into working, eventually for an agency in Cheltenham. Unfortunately, following a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and Arthritis, she had to retire from working due to health reasons, but this followed a journey of ten years of working with the support of our IPS Employment Specialist Karen; a journey that took her from isolation to a much more positive place as Catherine explains here in this video. Here she reflects on her journey with Karen:

Find out more

If you would like to find out more, call our friendly team on 01452 894865

Locations for this service

Pullman Place