With your support, Charles was able to overcome the one barrier he couldn’t on his own.
Can you think of a challenge you’ve overcome in your life – maybe at home, at work or back when you were at school? I can. I can think of loads because I’ve been overcoming barriers my whole life.
You see, I was born severely sight impaired. From a young age, I was determined my impairment wouldn’t hold me back, but at times, it seemed like I’d have no choice.
Facing barriers and negative attitudes
Take primary school, for example. I must have been eight years old when my teacher said there was no point trying to teach me to read and write – I wouldn’t be able to see. But of course I needed to be able to read and write like anyone else, and it was perfectly possible to teach me. So with the support of my family, I had to move schools.
Again and again, it happened. People tried to write me off. I was bullied. But I like to think it only made me stronger.
I ended up graduating from university with a First and I couldn’t have been prouder. But then I came up against a barrier I couldn’t overcome on my own. When I started to look for work, I found the door to the workplace tightly shut. Like so many disabled people, I found there was no way in for me.
As I discovered, prejudice and discrimination mean there’s no level playing field when it comes to getting a job. I just wanted to be judged on my qualifications and work experience like everyone else. But the first thing any potential employer saw was I’m disabled – my guide dog Carlo’s a bit of a giveaway! At one interview, I was sent away because I was told dogs couldn’t be admitted into the building (I had Carlo with me).
Scope understood my situation
Thankfully, I heard about Scope’s Employment Services. As soon as I got in touch, things moved quickly and Scope used their expertise to advise me on how to apply for work as a disabled person.
For the first time I was talking to someone – my Employment Advisor – who understood my situation. I got advice on everything from changes to my CV to building up a bank of interview questions and answers. I can’t tell you how much it meant to walk into an interview with confidence and present my impairment as a strength. After all, it’s made me resilient, and I’ve been problem-solving my whole life.
To have an independent life, I needed to get a job. And with Scope’s support, I got one I really wanted with a software company.
More than just a job
One year on, I’m still here, loving it. My company had never employed a disabled person before, but Scope supported me to present myself in the best possible way. Now my company understands someone like me might just need a few small adaptations, they’re much more open to recruiting disabled people in the future. I’m glad that, as well as supporting disabled people, Scope is working with employers to make workplaces more inclusive.
Thanks to you, Scope was there to support Charles into the world of work and having an independent life.