Felix is a post room assistant at Boodle Hatfield LLP. In this blog, he talks about finding employment, employers attitudes and why disabled people should have the same opportunities as anyone else.
My early experiences of looking for work were quite challenging. For most people on the autistic spectrum there’s the challenge of communication. I’m no exception. I struggled with communication myself. For a while my confidence was low because of an experience I’d had in a previous job where my role was abruptly ended.
I was unemployed for 18 months and I had the feeling that I wasn’t going to get a job. But, with the right support and doing various work experience opportunities, I was able to get my confidence back and be where I am today.
When it comes to employment, whatever other barriers exist, I think confidence is one thing that’s overlooked. Confidence will improve your chances of getting into work. Employers want confident people, whether they’re disabled or not.
Tailored support is important
Tailored support is important because not everyone’s needs are going to be the same and they need a different approach to meet those needs. Scope helped me with the basics – cover letters, CV writing, how to conduct yourself at an interview – as well helping me get my confidence back. They also set up a work placement which was one of the highlights.
I feel that Scope’s employment programme was that major catalyst for leading me into employment. Meeting the right people who can help with your career goal is important. I would definitely encourage young people to get involved in Scope’s employment services. Before that, I didn’t think I was going to be able to work for all the companies that I have done – law firms, Costa, HSBC, a legal support company.
Having a job is life changing
My job is quite action packed. I enjoy being on my feet and keeping myself busy. Another thing I enjoy is having a laugh and socialising with the people that I work with.
Having a job is life changing. When you have a job there are certain things that you can do. You can contribute, you don’t have to rely on your parents. You can also do things for yourself that you couldn’t do before – things like getting new clothes, music, football. It gives you independence. Having a job is important for my financial security and independence. It gives me a sense of freedom – being able to do things that I couldn’t do before when I was unemployed. It also comes with responsibility – budgeting and making sure that your money is spent wisely.
My life right now, I’d rate it 9 out of 10. Even though I don’t have a place of my own yet, I think my life is pretty good. I’d like to be able to move out into my own place. It’s been on the cards for some time but I feel that I’m closer to doing that now.
What I want to see in future
In 5 years’ time want to see more disabled people in employment, more disabled people being present in society and more visibility in terms of trying to create that level playing field between disabled people and non-disabled people.
I want to see Scope keep up their campaigns and influencing work but the one-to-one support is also really important. I think the Government should encourage more tailored support programmes to meet the different needs of disabled people.
There are 13.3 million disabled people living in Britain today. Amongst that are disabled people who are looking for work. I honestly believe, from my experiences, that being disabled doesn’t have to be a barrier to you finding work. It will take the right support and you working to overcome the barriers that do exist to get what you want – just like any other goal in life.
At Scope, we work to change society so that disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else. There are 13 million disabled people in the UK today and life is still too hard for too many.
Our new strategy has been developed with disabled people and their families and sets out how we want to make this country a better place and drive positive, lasting change.
Disabled people still face extra costs of more than £500 a month, struggle to get into and stay in work and are not easily able to access financial support. Scope will campaign to make sure that more disabled people have the right to work in the job they choose and receive the support they need to manage the extra costs of disability.