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Ready Devon

Meet Paul—Determined to work and growing in confidence day-by-day.

Ever considered what a difference a permanent job could make to someone with disabilities?

Many businesses assume employing a person with a disability requires a huge amount of support, time and money. In actual fact, for many people with disabilities, they are ready and able to work right now – what they need is for more employers to be open to them joining their teams.

Take Paul for example. He was determined to find work, so with the support of his family Paul joined an internship programme called Project Search.

It hasn’t been an easy journey for Paul and there have been some challenges along the way

Delivered in partnership with South Devon College, Project Search is a programme that offers young people with learning disabilities the chance to work within a large local employer over 12 months. The programme is made up of three 10-week separate internships in different departments.

Through Project Search, Paul took on a series of internships with Torbay Hospital, one of which was in the Transfusion department. He knew he wanted to work in admin and quickly discovered that he really enjoyed the work. So, after his internships, Paul wrote an expression of interest for a permanent job. He was invited for an interview, which was his first challenge, but he was determined to get the role.

“I could bring support to the interview if I wanted, but I felt confident enough to go alone. The interview was nerve wracking, but I’d received some interview technique training from Project Search which helped.”

At the end of the year Paul started his job with Torbay Hospital and so far it’s made a huge difference to his life.

“I’m independent now and I have my own living space. It’s like an annexe on my parents’ house, but it is my own independent accommodation. I pay rent, manage my bills and banking and I’ve bought my own furniture with credit so I now have a credit score. I can go out with my friends, and my parents actually say they never see me.”

It hasn’t been an easy journey for Paul and there have been some challenges along the way. He much prefers face-to-face communication, so he’s currently working on his phone skills with his line manager, Julia. Together they reflect on the calls he’s taken so he can continue to improve.

In other areas, Paul has really developed his skills. Initially he was managing databases but has expanded his role to the extent that he now takes some responsibility for incident reporting and reviewing. He’s also developed training packages and even delivered face-to-face training on the electronic blood tracking system. With support from Julia, Paul is able to pick things up very quickly and continue to develop and take on more tasks.

He’s worked his way up to managing the incident management system at work. A system which flags when it’s not being used properly and then reports this to the Care Quality Commission. He’s also supported the delivery of training on the blood tracking system. With support from Julia, Paul is able to pick things up very quickly and continue to develop and take on more tasks.

Outside of work, Paul volunteers one evening a week at Phab: a local charity which inspires and supports children, young people and adults with disabilities. Its aim is to bring communities together, breaking down barriers and creating a place where everyone can enjoy the same opportunities.

“Since I got my job I’ve grown in confidence. I’ve recently presented to the Rotary Club (around 50 people) to secure funding for Phab and have been invited to the House of Lords with other representatives from Phab across the Country. I’ll be travelling on my own to London.”

If it hadn’t been for his internships at Torbay Hospital, Paul would never have known the role in Transfusion existed. It’s through programmes like Project Search that people like Paul are finding out about the opportunities available to them. None of this can happen without businesses that are willing to be more open and inclusive of people with disabilities.

Explore how your business could take the first step towards employing people with disabilities. Ask to be contacted by a Jobcentre Plus local Employer Advisor.