John Chambers, 24, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy shortly
after birth. He attended a dedicated school for the disabled
and despite restricted mobility and learning difficulties he
went to University and completed a degree in Business and Technology.
When his course was completed, however, he felt the physical
limitations of his condition would hold him back in the jobs
"When I graduated, it didn't feel like there was anyone
to turn to for help and support. Careers advice wasn't very
forthcoming for the disabled and I was very sceptical about
my chances in terms of a job. My parents were happy for me
to stay at home with them and I thought I'd be better off
John was out of work for three years after finishing University
and his belief that his disability was holding him back had
started to affect his mental well-being.
"Early last year, I was on the verge of emotional collapse.
I felt useless and completely reliant on my parents. I wasn't
using my mind or my body for anything productive and I didn't
have the motivation to do anything about it."
In 2010, John heard about Disability Jobsite through
a friend he met at a support group.
"My friend suffered from MS, but he had a great job working
for the Inland Revenue and was shocked to hear that I had
never worked. He told me about the Disability Jobsite and
I was really surprised to find out that there was a jobs
website designed specifically for people like me".
"I did want to work - I just didn't have the confidence
to get out there and look for it. When you have a disability
it's very easy to believe that there isn't help and support
out there, especially within the jobs market."
When John logged on to Disability Jobsite he immediately registered
his details with the site and used the online resources to
review his options. In addition to finding out about the career
options he could pursue, John also found online information
about the Workability scheme, which helps disabled people gain
up-to-date training with the use of free computer equipment
and a "virtual college". John refreshed his skills with an
RSA Computer Literacy and Information Technology 1 (CLAIT)
and using the Disability Jobsite he began to apply for jobs.
"I've always been interested in computers - although I
confess that after leaving University I had only really used
them to play games! Via an advertisement on the site, I found
out that BT were running graduate recruitment schemes which
included guaranteed interviews for disabled candidates who
met the minimum recruitment criteria, which I did, thanks
to my degree."
"I didn't know if I had a real chance at a job, but after
revising my interview techniques with the help of information
I found at the Disability Jobsite, I was keen to get some
interview experience. I was over the moon when BT called
me back for a second interview for their technology division
and I was offered a job as a trainee IT support administrator."
"I no longer see my disability as a barrier to a successful
and fulfilling career. I have now made plans I never thought
possible, like moving into my own accommodation. If I want
to change career direction in the future, I feel I have the
skills and confidence to do it."
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