THE BLOG

As Someone With a Learning Disability, Working Has Given Me Confidence and Independence

18/06/2015 08:29 BST | Updated 17/06/2016 10:59 BST

My name is Vicky, I have a learning disability and I've been able to find full-time paid employment. Finding paid work has given me more confidence and independence. I want more people with a learning disability to have a chance of working because they can do it.

It was important to me to find paid work so I could have my own money, which means more independence to make my own choices. Since starting work at Leeds Trinity I've been able to buy things for myself and now have started saving my money in a savings account.

I have met new people, made new friends, I feel healthier and grown in confidence. I have learnt new skills such as talking to customers in a professional manner and cleaning to a very high standard. I have given the opportunity to study for an NVQ in cleaning and develop new skills.

I first went to Mencap about eight months ago. They helped me find work by enrolling me on an employability training course at one of their offices. This course was designed to teach me the necessary skills for work; such as team building, how to conduct myself in the work place, and to build my confidence.

Just 7% of people with a learning disability are in full-time employment. I was shocked when I found this out and made me realise how important this opportunity was for me. There's lots of barriers for people with a learning disability who want to get a job, such as the negative views of employers, but when these are taken away I know many people with a learning disability can become valued and trusted employees. Mencap have supported hundreds of people to find the right job for them, I wanted to be next in line.

During this time my employment coordinator helped me to find companies who I might be able to work for. They spoke to the management at Land Securities, who own Trinity Leeds.

I was given a six week trial, which started in December last year. With their support and my hard work I managed to get a 16-hours a week paid position. I have recently been promoted and now work 40 hours a week in Trinity Leeds.

All the staff at Trinity Leeds are so friendly, polite, happy and make me feel welcome; I enjoy the work that I do because it makes me feel better in myself, excited and proud that I have got job to get up for in the morning.

I feel like I am a member of the team. The managers recognise the hard work I do and make me feel appreciated.

My advice to anyone with a learning disability who wants to find a job but feels nervous is to seek advice from charities like Mencap who can help you find the work you want and support you.

I also believe if you really want to find work then getting some advice and support is a good thing. There's lots of organisations like Mencap who really understand the issues we can be faced with. However it's not just up to Mencap and other charities, we need employers to accept different types of talent and realise there's lots of people who are willing and able to work and desperate to be given that right.

My hopes for the future are to have a career at Trinity Leeds until my retirement. I eventually want to move out of my parent's house and get my own home and become even more independent. I would also like to get married and have children one day as myself and my partner are both in employment and are very happy with our lives now.

From the 15th June - 28th June the learning disability charity Mencap are asking people to celebrate Learning Disability Week 2015 with them. Mencap want to reach out to the general public, newly elected politicians and people in a powerful position to tackle the myths and conceptions about learning disability. If you want more information or to get involved in Learning Disability Week 2015, head here.