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Employment Advice Team

Please find below all members of the Living Well Employment Advice Team.

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Anthony Robinson
Senior Employment Adviser

Anthony is Senior Employment Adviser working on the EA (Employment Advisor) in NHS Talking Therapies programme.

He graduated with a BSc in Sports Science then went on to gain a MSc in Applied Sport and Exercise Sciences. He has a passion for health and wellbeing and supporting people to progress and realise their full potential.

Along with his continued work within Health and wellbeing as a Personal Trainer, Lifestyle Coach and Martial Arts Instructor, Anthony has previously worked as a Learning Mentor, and has been working on and managing Welfare to work and Employment programmes since 2006, taking a short time out to work as a Floating Drug Support Worker, a Health Trainer programme manager then starting his own Health, Wellbeing, Martial Arts and fitness business before going back into employment.

Family time is precious for Anthony. He has a beautiful granddaughter that is a Superstar and is going to be famous one day.

Anthony's favourite saying is Live the life you love, and love the life you live…

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Ayesha Farooq
Senior Employment Adviser

Ayesha's background is in mental health, health & safety, employability, and safeguarding. Previously she worked in the 3rd sector to support people to move closer to the labour market and gain sustainable employment.  Her background involves promoting a safe and healthy environment, supporting individuals’ well-being, and ensuring the protection and welfare of vulnerable individuals. Ayesha believes this is crucial in fostering a culture of care, empathy, and safeguarding within any organisation or community.

Ayesha has a deep-rooted passion for mental health advocacy. She is a mental Health First Aid Instructor dedicated to breaking down societal stigmas and fostering understanding. Ayesha strives to create a supportive environment for individuals facing mental health challenges.

In her downtime, Ayesha likes to indulge in her love for reading. Books have been her lifelong companion, allowing her to explore different perspectives, expand her knowledge, and find inspiration. Ayesha says about herself: ”I find solace in the company of my loved ones, cherishing quality time spent with family and friends. I cherish the bonds I have built and understand the importance of a strong support network in maintaining mental well-being - I also love watching Netflix, whenever I can!”

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Michaela Challoner
Senior Employment Adviser

Michaela is a Senior Employment Advisor working within Birmingham Healthy Minds as part of the Employment Advice in Talking Therapies project. Michaela strongly believes that everyone should have the opportunity to fulfil their work life and career aspirations and strives to provide employment support to help individuals gain, retain or return to employment.

Michaela has previously worked on the program in Worcestershire and is excited to be part of the team delivering employment support to Talking Therapies patients in Birmingham and Solihull. Prior to working in EA in Talking Therapies, Michaela had a varied career in education and industry. Teaching Business, Economics and Law while also Head of Sixth form, Michaela supported students to access further education, training and employment for life after school. In industry and Business Link Michaela was a Support Services Manager responsible for Human Resources, Finance, IT, Facilities and other business support departments.

With a passion for travel, Michaela aims to experience as much of the world as possible, steadily working her way through an extremely long list of places to see. During the pandemic, Michaela put her love of sewing to use as part of Project 3000 making scrubs for the NHS and care settings. She is also happy baking to create special occasion cakes for loved ones.

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Agnes Chan
Employment Adviser

Meet Agnes, our dedicated Employment Advisor at Birmingham Healthy Minds. With a background in social work and mental health, she is deeply committed to guiding individuals towards brighter futures and helping them live fulfilling lives.

Agnes brings a wealth of experience, having supported Special Education Needs (SEN) students and assisted graduating students with career support in Hong Kong. Her journey also includes serving as a job coach in Coventry, where she helped individuals secure meaningful employment opportunities.

Outside of work, Agnes is a passionate cat lover, with her cat's love etched into her through the scars of cat bites. In her free time, she enjoys DIY activities like sewing, upcycling, crocheting, and calligraphy, both in Chinese and English. Despite not considering herself sporty, Agnes has recently taken up parkrun and is a self-proclaimed foodie who prefers savouring delicious dishes over cooking.

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Dilara Begum
Employment Adviser  

Dilara is an Employment Advisor working with Birmingham Healthy Minds as part of the employment advice in the talking therapies project.
Dilara is a passionate and dedicated individual who takes pride in supporting vulnerable people. She has extensive knowledge and experience in the housing sector. She has worked in various roles and supported those who were going through Domestic abuse, victims of modern slavery, mental health and homelessness. More recently, Dilara worked for the listening service and supported volunteers in providing listening support. Clients who were referred to the service were often suffering loss, low mood, depression and anxiety.

Dilara has always worked with vulnerable people. Throughout her career, she has focused on providing support, information, advice and guidance to those who need it the most in our society.

In her spare time, she loves spending quality time with her family, creating delicious meals in the kitchen, and going for leisurely walks. These hobbies bring her joy and relaxation.

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Matthew Bennett
Employment Adviser  

Matthew is an Employment Advisor working within Birmingham Healthy Minds as part of the employment advice in the talking therapies project.
He believes our mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood with our mental and physical health are equally important components of overall health.
He has always had a passion for helping people from a young age and doing a job where he can help change someone’s life is rewarding knowing it has a positive outcome on their overall health.

Previously he worked as an Employment Advisor for a company called Maximus UK which worked alongside the JCP and DWP helping people get back into work and soon realised from doing that job role of helping people it was a career he wanted to do. Prior to becoming an Employment Advisor Matthew worked for 8 and a half years for a company that supplied medical packs for the hospitals all over the UK, Europe and many more parts of the world.

On a personal note, Matthew has a variety of interests such as photography that has been a keen interest since he was 17 at college.
He has a passion for music and loves festivals in the summer and since the age of 12 he learnt how to play the guitar.
In his spare time his main hobby is fitness, weightlifting and hikes being the main activities.
Matthew also has a strong love for animals especially dogs which his dog Astle is his best friend.

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Rubinder kaur virk
Employment Adviser  

Ruby is currently an Employment Advisor working within Birmingham Healthy Minds, helping to deliver a person-centred approach to support those who are seeking Employment Advice in Talking Therapies. Ruby has a great passion for supporting people in feeling more empowered about the choices they make in life, as well as raising greater awareness and acceptance around the impact of Mental Health challenges. This has transpired through her work history coming from a background in Banking and deciding to pursue more meaningful work within healthcare. Ruby has worked as an Occupational Therapy Assistant at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, supporting patients throughout their recovery journey in regaining a sense of independence in their daily lives.

Being the thrill-seeker that Ruby is, she loves adrenaline-packed adventures and wasted no time in ticking off the number 1 thing on her bucket list after turning 21... jumping out of a plane at 13,000ft in the sky! Ruby also loves weight training, practising mindfulness, learning to play the piano, and pestering her 2 cats Milo and Monty!

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Ruby Johal
Employment Adviser

Ruby loves helping people achieve their highest potential, she joined the Living Well Employment Advisory Team working within Birmingham Healthy Minds. Motivating and inspiring people to build a better future for themselves, that's what she values most about her role. She previously worked for government funded projects as an employment advisor, which shaped the person she is today; caring passionate, people centric, ready to go the extra mile. When asked about her experience working in the third sector Ruby said "There is a lot of awareness around mental health, and to be a part of the recovery is a fantastic feeling".

In her free time Ruby enjoys skiing, hiking, and gardening.

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