Job hunting as a young disabled person

Jonathan Shaw

Jonathan Shaw is 28 years old from Manchester and shares his story of looking for employment with a learning disability.

I think that the employers didn’t understand my learning disability and weren’t willing to support me.

I left school in 2006 and I guess like most young people, I felt excited and nervous about what lay ahead.

I had been in full time education and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do or what it was going to be like for searching for a job in the big wide world with a learning disability.

Building experience

So I approached the voluntary sector which helped me build up experience with enjoyable projects. But just as I was getting stuck in government funding was cut, which was a real shame and very disappointing.

I picked myself up with help from my really supportive parents and friends, who have always believed in me and what I am capable of achieving. They have been a big part of my life and I always aim to make them proud!

Employers didn’t understand

I struggled to find any paid employment that I thought would be right for me. Because of my learning disability I can’t manage a routine nine to five job and needed something flexible, with shorter hours.

I applied for many jobs and on paper ticked all the right boxes but I was never successful at interview stage.

I think that the employers didn’t understand my learning disability and weren’t willing to support me. This left me very angry and upset as I knew I could do just as well as anyone else with the right support.

Part of something

At this time I was lucky enough to join the Can Do programme with Leonard Cheshire Disability, which I have really enjoyed and has helped open up new opportunities.

Through this I helped organise a community Easter egg hunt, made cupcakes to sell for Red Nose Day and took part in money management workshops.

I now volunteer two mornings a week at the local hospital doing meet and greet, where it is great to being part of something.

I got the job!

Just recently I applied for a paid position as a relief inclusion consultant with a charity and I got the job! I am so excited and it still doesn’t seem real.

I am really looking forward to having more responsibilities and engaging with people, and of course getting my first pay packet.

I would say to anyone else out there like me push, push, push and never give up! 

Jonathan is 28 years old from Manchester and has a learning disability. He is starting his new job in the coming weeks and we wish him every success.

Untapped Talent

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