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Employment Advice Team

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

Ayesha 1

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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Tairah 1

Tairah Ali
Senior Employment Adviser  

Tairah worked for the DWP for twelve years and then as a mental health employment advisor for the charity MIND.

In her spare time she enjoys being around animals and in nature as well spending time with her loved one.

Fun fact about Tairah: She is also a foster parent.

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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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