Yes that is right- I have got a job! I am officially an employee. It may not sound a big thing, especially when I tell you it is four hours once a week. Nevertheless, those that know my journey will know it is massive.
It is a step in the right direction. A step towards being independent and self sufficient.
I am so pleased. It makes me feel like I am contributing to society, and valued. For so long I wondered whether I would ever be able or well enough to get a job.
Obviously, I couldn't survive on the wages of 4 hours a week, unless I was well, maybe a footballer, or top lawyer or something! I think maybe with a footballer, 1 hour would be sufficient, however I am told I have exceeded my peak of 25, I am not a male and my mobility maybe a problem! Therefore, for the moment I will still be on ESA (Employment Support Allowance). I hope, however in the future I will be able to build up my hours and at some point come off ESA.
How did I get my job?
In 2019 I finished my AAT level 4 Professional Diploma in accounting which I had been studying part-time. I wanted to get some work experience, to gain some practical experience and gain my MAAT (Member of Association of Accounting Technicans) status. I was then a 28 year old young woman who uses a powerchair and had never worked. I was worried about how colleagues would act and treat me, I was going into this whole new world of work. I thought with no work experience, having never worked and having a disability I would have zero chance of a job. Furthermore, a very part-time job, that suited me.
So to improve my confidence, banish stereotypes and show I am capable, I obtained some work experience. I thought even if I don't get a job at a company I do work experience with, I will have it on my CV as experience and they can reference to a future prospective employer that I am not off sick every week, or any other misconceptions some other companies or employers may have.
After meeting and connecting at an event, it was an introduction and then I was lucky enough to arrange some work experience.
I started this in December 2019 and was initially at the office for 3 hours once a week. (You maybe interested in reading my post about My first few days of work experience)
Then Covid-19 arrived in March 2020 and I ended up having a break while everything was up in the air. I continued my work experience, however from home, in August 2020 and in December 2020 I completed my 6 months work experience.
By then having felt I had adapted to the world of work and then working from home, I asked if I could extend it by 2 months. I felt I had settled in and was learning so much more.
In February 2021 I finished my work experience, I was unsure where I was heading next. I knew I wanted to try and get a very part time job. However, I do choose my moments, the economy in dire straights and most companies making people redundant rather than wanting to recruit! Furthermore, it isn't really like you see many job advertisements for 4 hours a week.
Anyhow, I took the opportunity to ask the lovely company I did my work experience for as to whether there were any opportunities in finance.
They came back to me and discussed an opportunity they had and tried to be as accommodating as possible.
Then I got offered the job.
What do I do?
The system & Financial incentives of working
Access to work
Disabled people make good employees