My Experiences of Finding Employment
24th May 2018
By Nathan Harper
I am 20 years old and I live in Portsmouth on the south coast of England. I live with my Mum and younger brother.
I am currently working at Blake Morgan solicitors fortnightly on a Wednesday and here at Psychology Chartered every other Friday. I do most of my work on a computer as I struggle to write for long periods. I also need a list to be written outlining what I need to do and sometimes how to do it because I can get confused with what I need to do. Another potential problem I have is that I may struggle to meet deadlines as I work slower than other people.
I have had a tough experience finding the right work placement for me, whether it be volunteering, an apprenticeship or a part-time or full-time job. I completed the Prince’s Trust Team Programme course in the early part of 2017 because I wanted to meet new friends and develop some skills, of which I did both. However, I have been trying to get into work ever since the end of the course, and even got help from my team leader to apply for some of the travel agency roles.
I think a disadvantage I have is that I have cerebral palsy which is a form of physical disability. This affects all four of my limbs along with my speech at times and I can sometimes get unsteady on my feet, particularly when I get tired or fatigued. There is legislation stating that organisations are not allowed to negatively discriminate against disabled people when it comes to recruitment. This includes the ‘Two Ticks’ scheme that only a handful of employers have adopted. Two Ticks employers have to offer an interview to applicants who have a recognised disability, although I have never experienced this as the companies I have previously sent applications to are not part of this scheme. By doing this and being unsuccessful, I believe these companies are not adhering to the legislation set out by the Tories (yes them); but there is nothing I can about that.
I think another disadvantage is my lack of qualifications. I went to a special needs school for people with severe disabilities so not only did I feel uncomfortable being in this environment, I got picked on and unfairly treated by some staff members. I got offered a place at a mainstream school who cater for people like me on a large scale, but for some reason I turned this down – big mistake! I ended up attending Redwood Park School 3 days a week to complete my GCSE Maths and Functional Skills English.
I have sent lots of applications to companies that I have been interested in working for. For example, I have applied for a post room administrator role at the Royal Mail, part-time travel agency posts at Thompson, and other companies in the travel and tourism/IT industries. However, I did not receive responses to any of my applications. I understand these companies are busy and may not have the time to write an extensive reply, but an acknowledgement of my application and a few lines of feedback would have been beneficial.
I completed a 2-year programme with the Shaw Trust – an organisation which aims to get disadvantaged people into employment – but I had a really bad experience. Some examples of problems I had included constant changes of my advisers, cancellations of multiple appointments and promises not being kept in relation to the following up of potential job opportunities. I am glad and relieved that it has now ended.
The advice I would give to any people who happen to find themselves in a similar situation to me is that when you apply for a job/placement, always follow your aspirations and apply for jobs in industries that interest you. Don’t let your disability hold you back. Ignore the inevitable negative and incorrect advice that some people will give you, such as being told you’re not capable of doing the job you want to do. Make sure you always notify the companies you apply to that you have a disability at the early stages, as it may increase your chances of an interview. Finally, always look at companies’ equality and diversity policies.