Have you ever taken a step back to look at some of the everyday things you may take for granted? It could be walking, talking or even hearing, we can all imagine how difficult it may be to suddenly lose some of these abilities we are so used to but have you ever thought about something much wider than these? What about working? Below are just a few stories of how having the opportunity of positive employment can dramatically influence a person’s well-being and outlook on everyday life.
I’ve had a few jobs in the past, but I wasn’t at all happy going to them, I always thought working was having a role, an identity, something to be responsible for and being part of a team. Not a horrible nightmare that was being given the jobs no one else wanted to or could be bothered to do. I slowly began to think that maybe I was making it up and what I was experiencing was the reality of working. But that changed when I met an employer who saw me for me and didn’t treat me any different than the other staff.
It all began when I was hired to do voluntary work in a hotel for a few hours a week, I was treated just like everyone else, given the same amount of respect and responsibility that I deserved, and felt part of the team rather than an outcast. I stayed at the hotel for 18 months whilst attending college to complete my Food Safety Courses. I then moved on to work where I am now, a café that’s more local to where I live, after a successful phone interview which I was ecstatic about! I work 16 hours a week and I absolutely love it, my employers have even offered to pay for me to complete a new Food Hygiene course so I can begin serving food! Hopefully in the future once I have done my course they will give me more hours and hopefully a wage too!
I have always struggled to find voluntary employment, all I needed was a single opportunity to show what I had to offer, I wanted a chance to shine! I was at a loss so my enabling support team helped me to enquire about different roles available in the community. When I’m working my mind can sometimes wander but it doesn’t stop me from wanting to help and be involved in a job, it was something so important to me!
On my quest for employment I stumbled upon a little café in my local community which had just opened, staff supported me to enquire about a position and after a great conversation with the café owner and a look at what I could and couldn’t do, they wanted to give me a chance! They gave me my own hat and apron which I wear when I go to work and I’ve even made a few new friends too!
I work once a week for 1 hour which is just enough for me and I am very proud indeed, never give up as it only takes 1 person to give you a chance to shine!
I’d like to tell you about a volunteer job I was recently supported to acquire in my local community that complimented the skills I use on a daily basis. But first some background information. My autism means I like things to be neat and tidy and I enjoy routine and structure. Because of this I hate to see the environment around me be strewn with rubbish and I can’t stand to see it stay there so I make sure I do my part by clearing it away.
My enabling team thought that I would enjoy a volunteer job where I could share these characteristic traits with others whilst supporting a good cause. I was supported to investigate and explore the available voluntary opportunities in the local community and I discovered that there was a local residential group that regularly helped to keep my local beach clean.
Whilst searching I discovered that there were many groups that meet regularly under the drive to keep Britain’s beaches clean and with support I made some enquiries and registered to become a member! On my first day of meeting and working with the group, I was warmly welcomed by all the participants. We excitedly made our way down to the appropriate part of the beach where we began the great beach clean.
I thoroughly enjoyed making sure the environment was clean and tidy and was proud to look at the work I and the people around me had accomplished, not to mention the feeling of freedom the open beach gave me. At the end of the hard day’s work, myself and the team went over to a local pub where we had a well-deserved drink. I really enjoyed my first experience of the beach cleaning and I’m excitedly looking forward to going again. Putting my everyday skills into something that helped others was an indescribable feeling!
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