Dawn finds access back into work

Dawn, 47, from Leeds joined Kennedy Scott’s European Social Funded Specialist Employment Support in May 2016. Dawn suffers from Osteoarthritis, which is a condition which affects your joints and makes them stiff and sore, in her case, it is mostly her back and knees. She is taking medication for this daily, and has monthly contact with her GP, saying: “Initially I felt really claustrophobic to the point where I rarely left home and it was really monotonous. It’s amazing when you’re not using your brain you can’t put words together they disappear”.

We worked through Dawn’s CV, working with her to improve it and highlight the skills she needs to work in administration, at the same time drafting cover letters. Dawn was provided the advice, that when writing cover letters you should make sure they are tailored to the individual job application and the job description. Dawn was eager to work, but at the same time she was suffering from trepidation due to the very little confidence she had of herself. We reassured her and also explained, when she did find employment there is a programme called Access to Work that would be able to help her.

Access to Work is a national programme delivered by the Job Centre Plus. It is designed to give practical support helping to meet additional costs associated with overcoming work related obstacles resulting from a disability. The programme provides a grant towards any additional costs involved in making a workplace suitable for the disabled person.

After a month of job searching Dawn went for an interview for an administration assistant with David Cussons Windows and Doors. Before attending the interview, Dawn and her advisor did some intensive 1-2-1 interview training. Shortly after the interview Dawn was offered the position working 16 hours a week: “I thought the interview went really well, and I think it’s great what Kennedy Scott did for me and the help they gave me”.

Dawn needed some specialist equipment to aid her in her work with her new employer to make it easier with her disability. Dawn and her new employer were given the details for Access to Work and she was encouraged to contact them. Through Access to Work Dawn was provided a chair designed specifically for her and for her use only, they also provided Dawn with a table that rises so if she gets too uncomfortable sitting down she can stand up and still work normally from the table: “Without Kennedy Scott I would have never of known where to get any of this”.

Dawn has now been in employment with the same company for over a year and she is happy in her job: “I’m now a lot more sociable. I can talk to anybody. I can be outside and have a conversation as my confidence level is so much better. The employer that I have really helps, he is so understanding”.