Georgina, who has learning difficulties and two children, spent 15 years out of work. Support from Scope gave her the confidence to start volunteering, update her CV and prepare for interviews. Georgina shares her story as part of Scope’s 100 days, 100 stories campaign.
Last May I started working in a factory. Before that, I hadn’t worked since 1997, when I had my daughter.
I planned to go back to work when my daughter started school, but by then I was pregnant with my son, so I stayed at home with him. He has learning and behavioural problems, and it has been very difficult. It wasn’t until 2011 that I could start to look for work.
Looking for work
I have a slight learning disability, so my brain doesn’t process things as quickly as someone else’s might in certain areas. In my new job I haven’t struggled, but some things are difficult.
Since 2011 I’ve been on Jobseeker’s Allowance. I got put in touch with Scope through the disability officer at the Jobcentre in 2012. I worked with Jan, an employment advisor.
I had no references, and there was no way I was getting a job without one. Jan and I decided that we’d write me a CV and drop them in at charity shops – do some volunteer work to get a reference.
One of them, a Red Cross shop, got back to me, so I started volunteering there. It was meant to be just for a reference, but two years later I was still there! I learnt a lot, and I still go back to help out sometimes.
Jan would either make appointments to come into the shop to see me, or I would come to Scope’s office in Eastbourne. We would meet once a week. We did work schedules, talking about what I’d done in that week, and I did my job search.
My confidence and self-esteem weren’t that great for a long time, but it’s better now.
At the charity shop I learnt to do basically everything. The manager, Michaela, said I should apply for Assistant Manager jobs in charity shops – I have all the skills. I’m pretty good at saying, ‘Oh, I can’t do this, I can’t do that’, and then finding that I can do it after all.
Getting the job
Someone at Scope saw this job opening and said I should go for it, and Jan went with me to the interview.
I am a good hard worker, if given the chance, but if I hadn’t have been with Scope when I’d gone for that interview, I know that the shop wouldn’t have offered me the job.
Not everywhere will give me a chance. If they give me a chance, then I can prove what I can do.
If you would like to talk about employment support for disabled people, we have a recruitment advisor from the Business Disability Forum on Scope’s online community now.