Individual Placement and Support Program (IPS Program)

The Individual Placement and Support (IPS) program forms part of the Australian Government's broader Youth Employment Strategy aimed at tackling the problem of high youth unemployment.

The aim of the IPS program is to improve the educational and employment outcomes of young people aged up to 25 with mental illness. The IPS program integrates employment and vocational services with clinical mental health and non-vocational support, and focuses on the individual needs of people with mental illness who are seeking to enter, or remain in, education and/or employment.

Participants can access a variety of supports including job coaching, assistance navigating community support services and Centrelink systems, targeted education and/or employment opportunities, and on-the-job support for as long as needed.

To be eligible to participate in the IPS program, people must:

  • be a young person with mental illness aged up to 25*
  • be an eligible client of headspace in the participating site
  • have employment, education or training goals and be facing barriers to achieving these goals, and
  • be willing to participate in the service and able to make an informed decision to participate.

* Note: a formal diagnosis of mental illness is not required to access the IPS program. The decision that a young person has a mental illness can be established by the clinical staff of the headspace site.

The IPS program is currently being delivered from 24 selected headspace locations nationally.

In 2020, the Government announced an expansion of the IPS program at a further 26 headspace sites, bringing the total number of sites to 50. These sites have been identified based on factors that ensure local areas with the greatest need are identified and targeted.

Factors included such things as:

  • estimated numbers of young people in the area, including those with mental health issues or behavioural problems,
  • the youth unemployment rate in the area,
  • estimated number of young indigenous people
  • number of businesses where young people could seek employment.

Other factors included proximity to existing headspace sites that deliver the IPS program, and availability of other mental health or vocational supports for young people in locations.

The aim is to ensure a balanced approach across all the states and territories as well as an appropriate mix of regional and metropolitan locations.

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