Disability and Graduate Job Hunting

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Author, Robbie Crow

I’m blind. Not completely, but I’m registered blind. I have been since birth and there’s no chance of fixing it. During my life I’ve faced many challenges, most of which I’ve overcome. I’ve sailed across the Bay of Biscay in a large racing yacht; I’ve been a trustee of two large charities in Scotland and England; I’ve achieved a first class honours degree in Marketing and I’ve traveled the world playing traditional Scottish music. Nevertheless, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do as a blind person is find a job. Why? Of course, I face the ‘standard’ problems that recent graduates with sight face, such as a saturated job market with a plethora of graduates competing against each other, but I think there’s something more. I believe that any impairment, not just visual impairment, is a barrier to employment – but only because disabled people don’t know how to talk positively about their impairment. I’m a fairly confident,  but even I struggled.

The advent of Auntie Facebook, Uncle Google, and cousin LinkedIn has meant that employers, now more than ever, find it easy to ‘research’ interviewees. They shouldn’t, and none will admit to it, but they do. Simply by Googling a name you can find any amount of information on a person, including pictures. For me, this is the biggest problem. Not because I have a profusion of pictures from lads’ holidays in Magaluf, but because my visual impairment is (ironically) visible in pictures. By finding an image of me, potential employers can tell, straight away that I’m visually impaired. Even though my CV or my application form doesn’t mention it, they know I’m a blind before I’ve even sat down and they already have thoughts such as (perceived) extra costs, medical leave and political correctness in the office running through their heads.

This really bothered me until recently. At one point I had two online identities: one, my “professional” one, was as Robert Crow and the other, my “personal” one, was Robbie Crow. I applied for jobs as Robert and lived my life as Robbie. Then I decided enough was enough.

Being born with a visual impairment is often portrayed as being a disadvantage, I’d argue to the contrary. Ignoring the fact that companies have quotas to meet, let’s consider the skills that having a physical impairment gives you.

Firstly, we’ve been problem solving and independently thinking since we were little. From getting on the wrong bus or train (or plane – don’t ask) and getting lost or being given print that’s too small to read at school, we’ve had to figure out the best way to turn that situation around rather quickly. We (nearly) always succeed – because we have to. Working independently is our jam, too. Often we work in ways which are magical and mythical to others – how do we avoid those lampposts? How do we know how far away that car is? How do we read that Braille? How do we understand that fast-talking computer? We work in our own ways because no-one else understands them, but they work and we’re good at coming back as part of the group when we need to – what employer wouldn’t love that? Lastly, being blind has meant – for me, anyway – that I’ve received a brilliant education. Due to the extra support I received in school I not only achieved good marks but I also learned how to deal with my disability properly, including how to make adaptations to everyday tasks to suit myself and not impede upon others. I learned how to touch type too, which means that I can type 110 words per minute with 98% accuracy. I challenge anyone to find me 20 graduates that can do that.

What I’ve learnt since leaving university is that being disabled isn’t a barrier to working. Having a bad attitude with your impairment is. If you treat disability right, it can be advantageous to your situation but only if you have the right mindset. Be the writer of your own future, don’t be the reader.

I can’t thank the GCIL Equality Academy enough for their support and help into employment!

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Amanda, Professional Careers Graduate with NHS Lanarkshire

If you had told me a few months ago that I would be standing in an Accident and Emergency department learning about hospital flow with two management nurses, I wouldn’t believe you and I would assume that I was in some kind of surreal dream waiting to wake up!

Now over a month into my placement with NHS Lanarkshire, I’m still pinching myself with a whirlwind of experiences and new faces.

Being in an acute hospital but not being a patient has been somewhat ironic for me. An on-going joke with my friends is that I was so often in and out of hospitals that the NHS decided to just to keep me there!

Not that long ago my life-long illness took its toll on me, shattering my life and isolating me in the process. My skin condition (atopic eczema) was misunderstood as an ailment but after two serious infections, I had given up on myself and resigned to the tedium of tri-weekly visits to a dermatology unit for photo-therapy in a vain attempt to control it and regain my health.

After years of on and off voluntary work (which really helped my confidence), and latterly a part time job as a classroom assistant, I felt ready to challenge myself since my degree in Journalism was left redundant and my degree certificate was gathering dust in the living room!

I found the GCIL Equality Academy completely by accident when my left arm brushed off my laptop when scoping employers. When I looked into the Academy it was as if it was what I had been looking for all along and I got excited applying, knowing that for once I could be honest about my condition rather than feeling that my application would be binned for mentioning ‘long term illness’.

I was shocked to learn that I had been short listed and began to feel a bit overwhelmed going to my interview in Dundee; luckily my best friend drove me there and reassured me the whole way plus knowing a familiar face , Kelly (now my Placement Co-ordinator), was there kept me at ease.

I had to read my job acceptance a few times to believe it as I was used to rejection emails! Thankfully the Academy arranged to keep me in the Lanarkshire area, not too far from where I live, which was great for my initial nerves!

Suddenly I was in NHS Lanarkshire HQ meeting all the heads of the service, from medical/ nursing to public health and HR. This really helped me to understand the organisation from the top down leading on to my now 3 month placement with Hairmyers Hospital in East Kilbride.

I have met some really lovely people here and some characters too! So far I have covered hospital management, nursing management, patient affairs and I’m currently helping to co-ordinate their first ‘Staff Awards’.

It’s been a strange but rewarding experience so far but I can’t thank the GCIL Equality Academy enough for their support and help into employment!

 

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“So much of dating in a sighted world is about the first glimpse.”

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So much of dating in a sighted world is about the first glimpse. When you walk into a room, you’re attracted to a person by the way they look and you signal this by trying to catch their eye. A wink here, a hand movement there, the odd, occasional, cheeky smile – these are all things that signal to someone that you’re interested. They’re all visual cues. This is the first thing that makes dating as a blind person hard: we aren’t able to pick up – or give – those cues. In order for us to know someone is dropping these hints to us, a friend has to tell us. Similarly, though, it’s also impossible for us to reciprocate these cues without looking creepy or deranged. Blind people rely heavily on the initial conversation, which often won’t happen if the signalling person thinks we’re just ignoring their signals, in order to engage in the first instance.

The second issue is that confident dating is about image and whether or not you’re confident in what you look like and/or what you’re wearing. It’s not nice to admit it, but people judge their looks based on how they perceive themselves, compared with others. If you can’t see what others look like, or what they’re wearing, how can you ever be truly confident that you look “ok”, never mind “hot” or “cute”? So many blind people struggle with self-image because they can’t see well enough to compare themselves to others. Friends can tell you that you look good, but isn’t that what friends are supposed to do, make you feel good? Some blind people struggle to trust that they look good, even after being told they do, because they physically cannot compare themselves to others. If you don’t think you look good, how confident will you ever be on a date?

The third issue of dating as a blind person is misconceptions about blindness. If the person you’re going out on a date with is more worried about how you’ll read the menu, how you’ll see the pretty views from the stereotypical romantic ferris wheel, how you’ll watch the film, or how you’ll even find your way to the location without getting run over and killed (thus making them an accessory to murder), how will that other person relax and enjoy the date with you? Notwithstanding those points, what if the other person is worried you’ll turn up with a dog or a stick? Granted, if they’re worried or ashamed of that then they’re not worth going on a date with, but still…

These are struggles that blind people face when dating, but dating as a blind person isn’t impossible if you handle these issues correctly. I, like many thousands before me who do not practice what they preach, do not handle these issues properly – but I know how to, in theory.

There are ways of making the first move with the assistance of a friend, so, first of all, make good friends that you can trust on a night out! If you make good friends and go out with them regularly, they’ll be able to tell you when someone is interested (and they’ll be able to tell you how you look). It’s up to you to then act on that information. For example, ask your friend to ‘dance’ you over to the possible suitor: if you’re a girl, they can then offer to buy you a drink and if you’re a guy you can talk to them and offer them one (sorry, this is a completely based hetero-sexual based article with lots of stereotypes). Friends will help you when they need to, and this is when you need them to. Just make sure they know that.

For the issue of fashion advice, the internet is your friend. Emily Davison’s Fashioneyesta (http://fashioneyesta.com/) is a great tool for female fashion tips. Emily is a blind fashion blogger who really knows her stuff! There are loads of sites out there that can advise on fashion and looking good, you just have to do your research. Your friends can also come in handy here, too, but only the ones you can trust (usually the least sarcastic ones!) to not just be on the wind up.

As for addressing misconceptions, the only person who can help with this is YOU. You have to be confident enough to talk about your impairment and your needs/limitations. You should also have your own coping strategies and ways of adapting. If it was me, I’d make a visit to a restaurant/location in advance with a friend to check out the travel route and where the toilets were (it’s always embarrassing asking any stranger where you can go pee!). If I was going for a meal I’d look at a menu online in advance. If I was going on a ferris wheel, I’d ask them to describe it, making it even more romantic. It’s all about knowing how to deal with your individual impairment and making sure they know that you’re a perfectly capable human being. Confusion is generally avoided by honesty, especially with visual impairments. Be prepared to talk, and don’t hide who you are.

Of course, these aren’t all of the issues that blind people face when dating. There are more, but perhaps we’ll come back to those in a future blog – along with the advantages of dating a blind person ;)!

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Top 5 Tips: Travelling when you’re blind, or visually impaired

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Travelling when you’re blind, or visually impaired, can be difficult, there’s no doubt about it. From reading bus numbers or signs to knowing which way is east or west, there’s lots of things that could go wrong. This article gives you the top 5 tips for visually impaired people who are travelling alone.

  1. Google Maps is your friend

Google Maps has a walking mode, and it’s voice controlled! Go from your “current location” to wherever you want to go, and it’ll tell you when to turn left and right. You can even plan your journey in advance, taking note of landmarks. The little blue dot even moves, so you can see if you’re going the right way.

  1. Use a white cane

This isn’t just to make sure you don’t trip up, it’s also to make others aware of your impairment. If you look lost, people might ask you and put you in the right direction; similarly, people will get out of your way if you’re travelling in a dark street, saving the “sorry”, “ so sorry!”, “oops!” moments. Not only this, but if you have a white cane you get free travel in lots of places *wink*.

  1. Use a telescope

Especially if you have some eyesight. Telescopes can be helpful because they allow you to look at small details, such as – you know – bus numbers, to make sure you’re going the right way. They also allow you to look out for known landmarks which may be reassuring but just out of your line of sight.

  1. Get the assistance

Getting the resident assistance isn’t admitting defeat; it’s actually helping you get the upper hand. The assistance people not only know the best changes for you to make, but they also know the quickest way for you to get there. They also give you some decent chat, too, which can be good if you’re travelling alone.

  1. Get into first class

…because who doesn’t like a free cup of tea?

Inspiring Life-changing Launch day

Often when you witness something life changing, you don’t actually notice the change immediately, it just sort of grows on you.

That’s the impression I got when I attended the launch of GCIL Equality Academy’s Professional Careers Programme Launch at the Scottish Health Services Centre in Edinburgh last Wednesday (2nd December 2015).

Naturally, on days when things like this happen it started off badly. For me anyway.

I made the rookie mistake of overestimating how much time it would take me to get to the conference centre, so I arrived really, really early.

So early, in fact, that John Speirs, Kelly Coote and Marjorie Cuthbert and the rest of the Equality Academy team were not setting up the conference room, they were still talking about how they planned do it.

So I said my hellos and rapidly excused myself to the main foyer with a hot cup of coffee.

I suppose I must of dozed off (I had, after all, got up ridiculously early), because I became suddenly aware that something was happening around me. It dawned on me that longish queue in front of the registration desk and the buzz of nervous laughter and conversation were my fellow graduate trainees. I thought it would be a smart move to join them.

Once inside the conference room, the herd instinct, and the fact that most of us had never met before, meant that at the start we huddled together nervously around just one of the six or so tables in the room.

After hasty introductions and the inevitable small talk between ourselves, John Speirs, the EA’s National Development Manager, got the ball rolling by asking us all to sit at different tables and then invited all the delegates, both trainees and guests, to choose a partner and find out as much as they could about the other person before formally introducing them to the conference.

So far, so normal, but it’s tried and tested conference fare and it certainly got the programme launch moving.

Before we knew it John went on to outline how the EA’s professional graduate programme had come about.

My ears pricked up though, when he said: “This is a massive project for us.”

Kelly Coote, one of the two EA placement co-ordinators, was next talking us through some of the placement terms and conditions.

Marjorie Cuthbert, the other placement co-ordinator followed taking us through how we were to be supported over the next two years.

Then just before lunch, I really began to realise that things, conference-wise, weren’t following the normal course of events.

It was when Shirley Rodgers, Director of the Scottish Government’s Health Workforce, talking about the programme, said, “Be in no doubt, this is the best thing that we’ve done this year.” That was when I realised that something different and something very interesting was afoot.

After lunch, following a round up from John Speirs, one of the graduate trainees, Sheila Hand – just started at NHS Tayside – took to the podium. With her guide dog Arty at her feet, Sheila was confident, self-effacing and articulate and obviously had some clear ideas what she wanted from the programme.

Jim Paterson, head of Leadership and Management Development NHS Lothian, was next and just as candid. Apart from being genuinely surprised at the incredible speed with which the programme had been taken up, he too had a clear vision of the programme’s future.

“I would like to see this graduate scheme part of one big graduate scheme. That this programme is exactly the same as the others that we are running,” he said.

It seemed the rest of the delegates had the same ideas during the thought-provoking group exercise that followed. So thought-provoking that the delegates’ maths skills were seriously challenged as most teams were unable to limit themselves to just three ideas in one part of the exercise.

What was clear though was that everyone agreed with Jim who had said that: “The future is that this programme runs in parallel with the other NHS graduate programmes.”

And then when Paul Gray Director General Health and Social Care, and chief executive of NHS Scotland, who had more of a Q & A ‘conversation’ with us rather than a speech said: “We’re not doing this as a one off. This is not a badging exercise as far as I’m concerned. Everyone on this programme has exactly the same stake as everyone else in NHS Scotland.”

So at the end of the day, I was quite convinced I’d witnessed something extraordinary – a steep change in the way that NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government viewed their future graduate recruitment.

And that that viewpoint will be changed forever if in two years time our programme is deemed a success.

Yet while it seemed a heavy responsibility, having met the delegates, I felt inspired. The future, as they say, is in our hands. Now that is life changing…

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Author: Mark Scruton, NHSScotland Graduate Trainee

Professional Careers – Where are they now?

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Our Professional Careers Programme was established in 2001 and within this time we have matched over 400 disabled people with over 200 organisations, from all sectors across Scotland. 85 per cent of our trainees move into further employment for higher education on completion of their placement. This was the case for Laura, Welfare Rights Trainee at Glenoaks Housing Association, who nearing the end of her traineeship was offered a position as Welfare Rights Assistant within the organisation.

“I started the Professional Careers Programme in July 2012. I began as a trainee in welfare rights; at the start it was quite daunting particularly with welfare reform on the horizon. This has been a major impact for social housing and advice agencies alike however because of who I worked with made the transitions into the role easier and they are very supportive of my role within housing services. This opportunity allowed me to work in a field I wanted to pursue but allowed me to be supported with my additional needs.

It was hard work but worth it as I have been working for my placement provider as a full member of their staff team since January 2015. I am now a Welfare Rights Assistant within Glen Oaks Housing Association and I LOVE IT! My contract is up soon but the prospects are looking in my favour for it to be extended. In this financial year I have accumulated in a six month period a gain of just under £430,000. This money has helped many tenants and reduce rent arrears and allowed people to regain control and self esteem. I work with vulnerable people as well which is an eye opener, it is difficult at times, it can be stressful and upsetting at times but the job satisfaction I get overrides any of these ill feelings. The professional careers programme has been one of the best decisions I have ever made and it has changed my life as I would not be working with such amazing people and working in a field and sector that I feel is making a difference to people’s lives.

I just want to thank the GCIL Equality Academy for the opportunity, Heather, Charlie, Kelly, Marjorie, Beth, John, Stuart and all the other professional careers peers for their support. I want to thank Money Matters for their training and support and Glen Oaks for the placement opportunity and the opportunity to work for them after my placement finished.

I hope to continue to work in welfare rights for the foreseeable future.”

If you are interested in joining our Professional Careers Programme either as trainee or an employer contact us on 0141 375 0464 or equality academy@gcil.org.uk for further information.

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Try not to panic…

When I found out that I’d got the job as the Equality and Diversity Trainee at Hillcrest Housing Association in Dundee, I was living in Tillicoultry, near Stirling, with my husband and our cat. Suddenly, we had a month to pack up and move house!

If I were to recommend anything for anyone moving to a new and unfamiliar city on relatively short notice, I’d recommend doing it the year before as a semester abroad in Spain, like I did. You’ll have less stuff to pack, but you’ll mostly be on your own and (almost) everything will be in Spanish. If you can get through that, moving to Dundee in a hurry will feel much less stressful. If you’re not lucky enough to have had a semester abroad to hone your moving skills, I recommend enlisting as much help as you can from family and friends. Try not to panic; as long as you and your stuff get from one place to the other, it’ll all be fine.

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We started looking at flats online before I got the job offer, but we had to start organising viewings very quickly. At one point, we had five flat viewings scheduled for one day. They all blurred together in the end and we started ruling out flats more efficiently as time went on. Moving with a cat limited our choices to pet-friendly landlords, but this may have been helpful since we already had a lot of flats to look through.

Despite our best efforts in trying to get everything arranged as quickly as possible, it still came down to the last minute. We picked up the keys on Friday, moved in on Saturday, and I started work on the Monday. That was an exciting weekend, to say the least.

The Google Maps app has proven invaluable, both for checking out the bus routes from potential flats and just generally finding my way around a new city. I use the Google Maps app and GPS to follow a route when walking, so now at two months in I can just about get around the city centre without incident. I tried to use GPS to get off at the correct stop on the bus to work, but it wasn’t accurate enough on a moving bus and the final few stops all looked too similar. There were a few times that I ended up getting off too early and having to walk through the Technology Park. Thankfully, it was a straight road and it’s been very sunny here in Dundee, so at least I didn’t get rained on! Because of this, most of the time I took my husband on the bus with me until my Access to Work taxis got sorted out.

I’ve been here for over two months now and I feel much more at home. I hope that I can get another job in Dundee once my placement’s finished, because it’s such a nice city – and I don’t want to move house again anytime soon!

Guest Blogger: Roslyn Conlan

EyePhone Tips

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Technology is great. In a time where society is fast moving, and where people have their phones glued to their hands, it is often assumed that mobile technology can fix everything. Of course, it can’t – but it can help you do many things – especially if you’re visually impaired. We don’t talk about voiceover because if you’re visually impaired, you probably already know about that one!

This blog talks through our four greatest tools on the Apple iPhone (please note, this is taken using examples from the iPhone 4S or later). Three of the Equality Academy staff are visually impaired, and they use iPhones – but we may cover Android in the future.

  1. Quick access accessibility button

The quick access accessibility button is great. It’s the home button pressed thrice, quickly. By changing your accessibility settings and choosing some options, it can allow you to do a variety of things very quickly – such as enable zoom, voiceover, inverted colours, and greyscale. You can set it to do one service alone, so that when the home button is triple tapped, it will enable that service, or choose more than one, meaning that when the button is triple tapped – you can choose what you want it to do.

Tip: to enable the quick access accessibility button, follow the route below.

Settings >> general >> accessibility >> accessibility shortcut >> choose preferences.

  1. Zoom

Zoom is self explanatory. You can enable zoom in two ways. By selecting the standard zoom option, you have to double tap the screen with three fingers at once to enable it, you then drag your fingers up or down to zoom in/out. The other way is by selecting it as the quick access accessibility shortcut, as outlined above. The zoom function is very clear, and helps any text become readable on an iPhone.

Tip: to enable the zoom function the traditional way, follow the route below.

Settings >> general >> accessibility >> zoom >> enable

  1. Camera

The zoom function on the iPhone camera is fantastic – so much so that it can be used as a CCTV. If you get your camera app up, then zoom in, it can be used as a live CCTV. Also, you can take a picture and zoom in on it – and, if you need extra zoom, then couple the camera zoom function with the iPhone general zoom function – voila!

  1. Siri

Siri is the iPhone’s personal assistant. He’s a voice assistant that carries our commands or answers our questions. To access him, all you have to do (once he’s switched on) is tap and hold the home button.

Tip: to enable Siri, follow the route below.

Settings >> general >> siri >> enable

Siri can also be accessed, when plugged in to charge, without pressing any buttons – just enable the “Allow “Hey Siri”” function, and Siri can then be activated just by saying “Hey Siri!”.

Things to ask Siri that we find helpful:

  1. What time is it?;
  2. What day of the week is [7th November 2015] (replace this with any other date);
  3. Call [name];
  4. What do I have to do today?;
  5. What’s the weather outside?;
  6. Play [song name];
  7. Wake me up at [time] (to set an alarm); and
  8. …our personal favourite, “What is zero divided by zero” (go on, give it a try!)

Introducing our Innovative New Training Programme….

MindGCIL Equality Academy is working in partnership with Alexis Coulter Consults to deliver an innovative new range of courses, designed specifically for social enterprises and third sector organisations. Our Autumn Training Programme has been developed through an in-depth consultation process with organisations across Scotland; as a result, the knowledge and skills learned through the workshops are not just theoretical but can be applied to your organisations unique set of circumstances, with equality at the core of all our courses.

Equality Academy are running the following Courses in Autumn 2015:

  • Identifying Stress in the Workplace
  • Leadership v’s Management
  • Managing Conflict Effectively

These modules are academically sound being built around current best practice and will be delivered based on active learning set principles to maximise the pro-activity of the participants, learning experience using their real World situations.  In addition the active learning set will allow participants to share experience and internal best practice in a safe environment and build up an internal network.

Alexis Coulter and fellow consultants have 20 years plus experience working with a vast array of organisations including GHA, Glasgow City Council, GSPC, NFU, Perth & Kinross Council, Scottish Water, Sports Scotland, and Renfrew Council. Alexis describes the programme as “an exciting bespoke active learning experience where participants have a safe environment to explore the theory in relation to their challenges and share their experiences with colleagues from other organisations, gaining insights into other organisations, benchmarking best practices, networking and learning opportunities… all in a fun filled learning manner that allows the participants to be confident to make immediate changes back at the work place”.

Throughout the year the Academy will be adding the following courses to our Programme, so keep an eye on our social media for further details:

  • Healthy Leadership
  • Time Management
  • Debt Management
  • Customer Relationship
  • Communication
  • Team Working, Healthy Working
  • Customer Service Excellence

To book you place please contact a member of the GCIL Equality Academy team on 0141 375 0464 or equalityacademy@gcil.org.uk

We look forward to hearing from you.

‘It has been an amazing opportunity …..”

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At the Academy we adhere to the Social Model of disability and believe that people are disabled by the barriers they face in society, rather than the limitations of their impairments. One of the criteria for our Professional Careers Programme is that you must be a self-identifying disabled person, which means you have an impairment and experience barriers to employment, such as environmental, attitudinal, transport, access to information etc. Mental Health falls under this umbrella, but not everyone who has experienced difficulties realises this, as was the case with one of our trainees. This is their story.

“One year ago today I was finishing writing my dissertation for a Masters degree in psychology at the University of Glasgow. Today I am sat in an office at Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living Equality Academy (the Academy) writing this blog. I had no idea that I would be doing this today and it was definitely an unexpected but exciting opportunity which arose to me. After spending the summer of 2014 in America shopping, sunbathing and just generally having fun, I came back to Britain wondering what I was going to do next.

I had had an extremely busy year doing the masters as it was a very intensive course, and although I knew that I wanted to continue learning and complete a doctorate in Psychology I thought it would be best to first get some work experience in an NHS hospital before applying for the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

This began to be a very long process. I started off by just applying for psychology assistant jobs but as you can imagine these where very limited and high in demand. I then applied to a few health care assistant jobs which I was offered – however, these where minimal pay and not really in a relevant field. Out of the blue one day I got told by my careers advisor about how GCIL Equality Academy were recruiting for some graduate trainee placements for disabled graduates. At first I was unsure why she was explaining all of this to me as I would not have then considered myself to be a disabled person. It turns out though that suffering from anorexia nervosa and depression for three years is classed as a mental disability which was news to me.

After a quick and decisive decision to apply for the job (I had one day to apply before the closing date!) I received a call the next day inviting me to an interview for a graduate internship within a NHSScotland Hospital. The day of the interview came around extremely quickly and I had prepared a small presentation on why I thought I should get the job, what qualities I thought I could bring to the position and what I can offer over and above other candidates.

I was preparing for my interview all morning and making my flatmate (also best friend) listen to me numerous times going over what I was going to say and my presentation. Around 11 am, I received a call from Kelly (my main contact from the Academy who I had spoken to regarding the job) asking if everything was ok. I was extremely positive and upbeat stating “Yes of course I am just preparing for my interview!” when she stated that I had missed my interview and I was supposed to be there now. I was shocked, embarrassed and felt increasingly uncomfortable on the phone. I explained how I must have mistaken the time for another appointment which I had that day and that, if they still wanted, I could be there as soon as possible. Thankfully she said that they could fit me in at 1pm.

I quickly got dressed, did my hair and makeup and tried not to think about what had just happened. I knew that if I probably didn’t have much chance at all of getting the job but my flatmate persuaded me to still go along and do my best; there is no such thing as too much interview experience, right?

After having the interview and trying to make a joke of myself missing the original interview slot “I have excellent time keeping, as you can clearly see from today” I was shocked to receive a phone call the next day with a job offer.

Ever since that day it was been an amazing opportunity to work for GCILEA within a NHSScotland Hospital. My whole experience has been full of learning, laughing and liaising with different health care professionals. I would highly recommend GCILEA graduate opportunities to all disabled graduates and in my experience it has been one of the best opportunities that I have been given.”

If you’d like further information on our Professional Careers Programme , or information on the services we provide, please contact us on 0141 375 0464 or email equalityacademy@gcil.org.uk.