Sean, 28, was supported by Scope into a placement at a camping supplies shop in north Wales, which became a permanent job. He and his employer, Tracy, are sharing their story as part of Scope’s 100 days, 100 stories campaign.
The worst thing about being unemployed is not having a direction – not having a plan, not having anything to do. You find yourself in a lot of despair just trying to do the simplest things, and it’s very difficult.
I’d had to stop work because of illness. I’ve had depression since I was about seven years old, but I’d had a good spell of probably about 10 years where I had no problems at all. But then I just dipped and I needed some help.
In time I got the help required from my GP, and I felt ready to start working again probably about six to eight months after I had to stop.
I definitely knew that I was ready to get back in there – chomping at the bit, to be honest with you.
Getting into the work market was tough. The Jobcentre was quite poor. I think they were more keen on pushing me into any job than the right one.
I really couldn’t say how many jobs I applied for. I still have a big lever arch file of all the applications I’ve done.
Starting at the shop
After having an interview with Scope, I started at the shop in February of 2014.
I love my job. The people I work with are great. There’s quite a lot involved – serving customers, getting stock ordered, a lot of ICT work, and we do a lot of internet sales.
I also did a lot of training through Scope during the first few months, including an ICT course which I’d had no qualifications in before.
I think I integrated really well here. They’ve given me a lot of confidence, because they’ve given me a lot of trust; a lot of faith has been put into me.
We’ve just started stocking and selling air rifles – Tracy and Neil didn’t know much about it, but with me being somebody who does go shooting, they thought he could use my knowledge to expand the business.
It’s nice working for somebody who puts faith in their employees, and it gave me a big morale boost to be trusted so much.
I’m feeling like I’m a part of this business, more than just an employee – I’m actually an active part in driving it forward, which makes you feel good about yourself.
The help that we got from Scope initially was so helpful. I think he was matched well with this place – there was obviously a lot of thought about what Sean likes doing. His adviser was only a phone call away if he ever needed anything.
We knew that if things didn’t work out with Sean we could say so, which means you’re not under so much pressure as a small business.
But it was always going to be that he would come on board with us – and that’s mainly because of the support that he’d got through Scope.
We don’t see any kind of disability as a stumbling block. As long as you can do the job it doesn’t matter, and if you can’t do something, just tell us.
I think most people’s families have been touched by some kind of disability. We certainly have – so if someone is struggling to get a job, then let’s give them an opportunity to get a foot on the ladder here. What better way of getting somebody back in?
It’s been invaluable for us, it really has. And I’m confident that even if we hadn’t been able to take Sean on, he would have walked into another job – his confidence was boosted literally overnight.