Are You an Aspiring Architect?

Advert for a “Practice Shared” session at Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

Sarah Wigglesworth Architects are offering disabled people interested in a career in architecture an experience at their offices at 10 Stock Orchard Street, London N7 9RX on 8 June, 2.00 – 6.00. Visit http://tiny.CC/practiceshared  for info

(Please note that the offices are not accessible to wheelchair users, being predominantly n the 1st and 2nd floors with no lift)

Two portfolio review slots have been reserved for Evenbreak members, to book contact natalie@swarch.co.uk

Have Your Say in Disability Research

Disabled researchers wanted – join today!           

The Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RiDC) – www.ridc.org.uk – is a leading UK expert in user-centred research involving disabled and older consumers. 

An independent charity with over 50 years’ experience of specialist research, it has an active consumer research panel of nearly 1,000 people.

RiDC’s board of twelve trustees all have personal experience of disability.

For far too long there’s been disjointed planning in the design of products and services in the UK.

There’s also been an ongoing failure to appreciate people’s real life needs for products and services to be fully accessible and inclusive.

RiDC is determined to improve things with the help of members of its consumer research panel. The RiDC panel consists of people of all ages throughout the UK who’ve a wide range of disabilities and impairments with real-life experience, knowledge and insight.

Disabled people are absolutely vital to RiDC’s research. And now RiDC needs even more people to join its panel.

So if you are a disabled or older person living in the UK, then why not use your knowledge and experience to help RiDC with this important research? 

You can find out more at: http://bit.ly/RiDCResearchPanel

As a valued panel member, you may be asked to take part in mystery shopping, usability testing of products, surveys and questionnaires and focus groups.

RiDC will offer you research to do only when it becomes available in your area and if it is appropriate to you and your interests.

Generally, RIDC covers your time and expenses. Plus, because each research project is based on you and your experience, it’s usually pretty interesting.

Join the RiDC consumer research panel now online at: http://bit.ly/RiDCResearchPanel

You can join over the phone if you prefer. Please ring RiDC on 020 7427 2460 and then we’ll phone you back at a convenient time to sign you up.

STOP PRESS: 
And there’s a new product review website called Rate it! – product reviews by and for disabled people. Find out more at: http://bit.ly/RateIthome

To find roles with inclusive employers, visit Evenbreak’s specialist job board, run by and for disabled people

Talking Positively About Disability to Prospective Employers

Talking positively about disability can make the difference between really impressing a prospective employer or putting them off you altogether.

Deaf woman using sign language
Deaf women signing to each other

Disabled people make great employees

The reality is that, in many cases, as disabled candidates we make the best employees. On average, we are just as productive as non-disabled people (often more so). We tend to have less time off sick, fewer workplace accidents and we stay in our jobs longer. We are all experienced in having to navigate around an inaccessible world. So we have developed skills such as creative problem-solving, tenacity, negotiation skills and innovation.

However, as we know only too well, not all employers see us that way. They may perceive we are somehow less able than others. That we are an expensive risk. That we cause more problems than we solve. And so we need to work hard to persuade them otherwise.

Emphasise the positives

Sometimes, as disabled people, we can be our own worst enemies in failing to challenge negative stereotypes. I went to an interview with a brilliant autistic candidate a while back. His first twenty or so sentences either began with “I can’t” or “I need”. Whilst these may have been valid comments, beginning an interview by explaining to the employer exactly why you shouldn’t get the job is unlikely to result in success! The same candidate had so much to offer the employer, and could have been just as honest telling them what value he would bring to the organisation. Starting his sentences with “I can” and “I will” would have been far more positive. Asking for adjustments can come later – when the employer has already decided he is the best candidate.

Highlight the benefits your disability brings

If you do decide to mention your disability, you can also do this in a positive way. Rather than “I’m autistic, so I’m useless at working in teams”, perhaps say “my autism means I pay incredible attention to detail and tend to be much more accurate than neuro-typical people.” Both statements may be true, but the latter one will make being offered the job more likely. Other examples include, “Being Deaf means I’m really good at reading body language,” and “Requiring personal assistants means I am experienced in employing and managing people,” and “Acquiring an impairment has helped me develop new skills I never knew I had, such as resilience and adaptability”. The trick is to phrase your impairment as an asset rather than a problem.

Turn adjustments into positives

Similarly, when asking for any adjustments you may need, this can be done positively too. “I’m afraid I will need specialist software to help me do my job,” could be rephrased as, “with the correct software in place I will be able to be effective and productive – and Access to Work will pay for the software and train me to use it.” Or even better, “in my previous role I used dictation software, paid for by Access to Work, which meant I was both quicker and more accurate than my colleagues.”

Whilst some employers are enlightened enough to be positive about disabled applicants, we may need to challenge others – in a subtle and positive way – to rethink their pre-conceived ideas about us. Talking positively about disability can really help.

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs

When should we start employing disabled people?

Image shows the word ‘now!’ on a torn out piece of paper, surrounded by other words including ‘someday’, ‘another day’, ‘never’.

When we talk to employers about employing disabled people, one of the first questions you often ask us is what you should put in place first.

In some ways, that’s an odd question, because you are almost certainly already employing disabled people. You just might not know. Most impairments (around 80%) are not visible, so many people just don’t mention them. Consider dyslexia, diabetes, asthma, chronic pain, autism, mental health conditions and so on.

You are almost certainly already employing disabled people…

Apart from that, if we waited for organisations to become completely inclusive before employing disabled people, no disabled person would ever be employed! The important starting point is to just get started. It’s a virtuous circle – the more disabled people you employ, the easier it gets, and the more confident you become.

On the whole, disabled candidates understand that no organisation will get everything right every time, but if there is a willingness to listen and learn that’s enough.

Disability inclusion is, of course, at the heart of everything we do at Evenbreak, and we are still learning. We are incredibly lucky because we have loads of opportunities to learn – from our amazing candidates, our enthusiastic employers, and each other. Between the nine people on the Evenbreak team, we have a wide array of impairments and learn something new from each other all the time.

We are still learning too…

Our recent video asks a number of disabled people what their advice to employers would be, and in their own way, each one of them said: “just do it!”.

The danger is that if you wait until everyone is trained, all the buildings are made accessible, all the policies are changed and all the budgets are in place, it will never happen. You can be working on all of those things in parallel with attracting disabled people to help you on that journey. Sometimes the ‘we can’t do it until …” becomes an excuse rather than a genuine concern. In particular, budgets! If this is really a priority for you, you’ll find the budget from somewhere.

So – what’s really stopping you?

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs

How Disabled Individuals Can Earn a Sizeable Income from Home

It is likely that you have already encountered a plethora of “sure-fire” money-making concepts. Many of these touted the fact that you can earn an incredible income from the comfort of your own home. Those who face mobility issues or who are permanently disabled are understandably interested in what such opportunities have to offer. Unfortunately, the majority of these ventures fail to produce the promised results and some could even costmoney in the long run. This is why it is a good idea to take a quick look at some excellent start-up business venturesthat are set to make waves during 2019. While we will not examine individual products, we will still cover some of the major sectors as well as how you can begin.

Technology: Moving Ahead at Light Speed

The technology sector is advancing at a breakneck pace. From intuitive smartphone applications to high-flying drones, it seems as if such devices are increasingly present within our daily lives. It is therefore no surprise that more than 10,000 apps are created every month and that toy drones are one of the most popular gifts during the holiday season. If you have always been interested in technology, this market segment could be excellent to consider.

Still, you might not have the ability or the finances required to create a gadget from scratch. In such an event, it could be prudent to employ a third-party drop shipping firm. Massive online portals such as Oberlo will place you in direct contact with suppliers and there are literally thousands of different items to choose from. In the event that you make a sale, the product will immediately be shipped to the customer and the great news is that you are not required to possess any in-house inventory. These platforms are intuitive, agile and they offer a user-friendlyedge that would have not been possible only a handful of years ago.

The good news about the technology sector is that it tends to perform quite well even when the markets are less forgiving. The fact of the matter is that children and adults alike are always interested in what such modern marvels have to offer. If you have been looking for a conservative and yet cutting-edge home-based business possibility, technology might very well prove to be a worthwhile possibility to keep in mind.

The Practical Side of Start-Up Ventures

Regardless of what you choose to market with the help of the Internet, you need to appreciate the logistics associated with a home-based business. There are a number of benefits that are ideally suited for those with mobility issues. You can set your own hours, you can work at a comfortable pace and you will not be required to travel. However, there are also some potential problems that should be recognised from the very beginning. These include:

  • It can be difficult to maintain discipline.
  • Some individuals will be prone to distractions.
  • There could be limitations in terms of the products that you are able to successfully market.
  • Home-based businesses are often associated with a challenging learning curve.

The situations mentioned above are why you should enter into any venture with a sense of open-minded practicality. While you might not be able to earn a completely independent source of income overnight, patience and time will equate to long-term results.

It is also a good idea to adopt the right psychological approach as early as possible. Pace yourself and if you feel tired or frustrated, take a break. Ask for the advice of others; particularly if you are brainstorminga specific sector or product. Come up with a few different ideas before weighing the pros and cons of each. Obtain objective points of view if you are unsure which opportunity will produce the best results.

Another important takeaway point when speaking of any home-based business idea is to learn from the successes (and failures) of others. For example, perform an online search using a term such as “the top home-based business concepts of 2019” in order to better understand the predominant trends. It is also wise to read stores of those with similar disability-related conditions. This is an excellent way to obtain a bit of much-needed inspiration and their methods might even cause you to think in a different manner.

There are more opportunities for those with disability issues to enjoy a sustainable source of income than ever before. The key is starting off on the right foot and knowing what to expect along the way. Countless digital platforms can assist your ventures and you will not be required to invest a massive financial “nest egg” to begin. If you have been hoping to enjoy fiscal freedom in 2019, a home-based business is a great idea.

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs

Boosting your confidence when job seeking

Confidence is important when job-seeking. If we don’t have confidence in our own abilities, why would we expect a prospective employer to have confidence in them? Unfortunately, being unemployed can make it difficult to remain confident – particularly when we may have faced a number of rejections, or worse, had our CVs completely ignored. This is, sadly, a common situation for disabled candidates. Here are some suggestions for boosting that confidence again:

Carry out a Skills Audit

Write down all the skills, qualities, experience, knowledge, talents and abilities that you have acquired in your life. Not just the ones from any jobs you may have done previously, but also skills gained outside of paid work – in voluntary work, during sports or hobbies, community roles such as school governor or pastoral roles, through travelling and so on. Ask people who know you to add to the list. Seeing a long list of abilities you have reminds you what you have to offer and can help restore confidence. Don’t forget the skills you’ve learned in coping with being disabled – creativity, patience, determination etc.

Goal-setting

Successfully achieving goals can be very satisfying, and help to boost confidence levels. Make sure that the goals you set yourself are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) so that you don’t set yourself up to fail. Relevant goals could include, for example, setting aside a morning to create three different types of CV to decide which sells your skills best, and then you have a template to adapt for each job you go for. Or perhaps deciding to research an employer you would like to work for and sending them a speculative CV and cover letter by the end of the week. This makes you feel more pro-active, more in control, and continually moving towards the ultimate goal of landing that dream job.

Control your “Internal Dialogue”

We all have that little voice in our heads, and it tends to sabotage rather than help. You know, the one that says “you’re useless, you’ll never get a job, no point in even trying” in response to being rejected for a job. The good news is that this is your voice, and therefore you can change it, or at least challenge it. If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts like this, challenge them. OK, so you didn’t get that job. Instead of catastrophising the situation, instead try to think “on this occasion they thought someone else met their criteria more closely than me, well – it’s their loss, what can I learn from this before putting it behind me and concentrating on the next job application?”. Make sure your inner voice talks to you in the same way you would talk to someone you care about.

Putting things in Context

Having a job title, and all that comes with it (income, self-esteem etc), is important, but it doesn’t define who you are as a person. As human beings in this society our job title is part of our identity, but only part. In every other respect we are still the same person as we were when we were last working. We have the same personality, relationships, friendships, skills, interests. If you are a parent, for example, being a good Mum or Dad is far more important than what your job title happens to be. Your children and family and friends won’t judge you on whether or not you happen to be in work at the moment, and neither should you. It’s important, but there are far more important things.

Fake it ‘til you Make it!

Whilst our mood can affect our behaviour, it can work the other way round too. If you behave as if you were full of confidence, you will start to feel more confident. For example, if you go into a job interview telling yourself you are no good, you failed the last four interviews you went for and will probably fail this one as well, you almost certainly will, as this will show in the way you behave. However, if you tell yourself that you have looked at the job description and know that you can do all of the tasks on there, you have all the skills they are looking for and you would be really great in this role, you will behave and look and sound much more confident – greatly improving your chances of success.

I hope these suggestions have been helpful and that you soon regain that all-important confidence you once had, helping future employers have confidence in you too.

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak click here

To find jobs on Evenbreak click here

And to find out more about best practice around disability in the workplace take a peek here

Discussing Disability with a Prospective Employer

Generally speaking, looking for work is the same whether you are disabled or not. You need to find appropriate roles and then prove to the prospective employer that you are the best person for the job. However, if you are disabled, there is the added issue of when and how to talk about this. By law (Equality Act 2010) an employer is not allowed to ask you questions relating to health or disability (other than for monitoring purposes, or in order to provide reasonable adjustments in the recruitment process) until they offer you the job.

If your disability is not visible or obvious in any way, then the decision as to whether and when to mention it is completely up to you. If it is visible (for example, you use a wheelchair) or obvious (for example you have a speech impediment) then they will be aware of it at least by the interview stage.

Whether or not it is by choice, if we are going to discuss our disability, we need to put some thought into how we might do this. If the issue doesn’t arise until after you have been offered the job, then the decision is based on what you might gain by telling them. Usually this would be about any workplace adjustments you might need in order to perform at your best. This can be anything from a piece of specialised equipment to asking them to explain things very carefully to you if, say, you are autistic and tend to take things very literally.

If disability is raised by you during the recruitment process then there are a number of issues to consider. The first one is to allay any concerns you think they might have regarding your disability. So, for example, if you are sight-impaired and it looks like you will need expensive equipment, you could tell them that Access to Work will provide you with a large screen, or voice recognition software or whatever, and remember to reassure them that your performance was as good/accurate/quick as your colleagues in your previous role (or more so, if it was).

Their concerns will usually revolve around cost and/or performance, so you will need to let them know that neither of these will be an issue. It may be that your disability gives you an advantage. For example, if you are autistic you might say that you prefer to work without distraction, meaning you are far more productive than staff who might spend time chatting. Or that your attention to detail is better than most people’s.

There may be other benefits you can mention. In order to survive in a world not designed for disabled people, you may have developed skills such as creativity, determination, innovation and persistence. These are all attractive qualities to an employer.

Try to anticipate what their concerns might be, put them to rest, highlight any support or positives that might be available, and then go back to discussing your skills and talents and why you would be the right person for the job.

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs

Show how much you care about healthcare.

 

Do you care about maintaining standards in the nursing and midwifery professions? Do you care about people, fairness and transparency?

Then you should join the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s Fitness to Practise panel.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council regulates nurses and midwives in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. We exist to protect the public, setting standards of education, training, conduct and performance so that nurses and midwives can deliver high quality healthcare throughout their careers. Most nurses and midwives do uphold professional standards and work hard to keep their skills and knowledge up to date, but things can occasionally go wrong. When this happens, we have clear and transparent processes to investigate nurses and midwives who fall short of our standards.

This is where you could help make a big difference.

We are currently looking for people to sit on our Fitness to Practise panel. As an independent panel member you will hear and make decisions on any cases that have been referred to the committee.

We are looking to build a panel made up of people from a range of backgrounds and experience, including people living with disabilities. You must be able to make logical, fair and balanced decisions, work well within a team, and be empathetic and adaptable. You may have developed these skills in a range of different situations.

There are vacancies for registrant panel members (nurses and midwives) and lay members. You can hear a registrant panel member describing her experiences in this video.

If you have never considered a role like this before, don’t let this put you off from applying. Full training and support is provided to enable you to make a positive impact.

You would be required for at least ten days per year, and the payment is £310 per day.

Please visit www.nmcfuture.com for more details.

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs

I’ve Lost My Sight, Will I Lose My Job?

This is a guest post from Daniel Williams from Visualise Training and Consultancy.

Will I lose my job if I have lost my vision?

With over 200 people being diagnosed every week with an eye condition in work which cannot be corrected by the wearing of glasses or contact lenses, there is a lot of people struggling to keep working. Many will even be in fear of their uncertain future and may not get the advice and support they need.

Carry on working

Do you keep trying to work in your present job, retire or try and live on disability benefits? If you enjoy working, it can be hard, and you may not be able to afford early retirement, but how can your current workplace be adapted? It is often much easier to remain in your current employment than try and find new work.

Time to think

Avoid acting on impulse, because vision loss does not mean job loss. You may be suffering from shock at the diagnosis, and may experience a form of grief and loss regarding your vision, your thoughts may be that you can no longer carry out the tasks you are employed to do, there is lots of help and assistance available and a specialist visual impairment work-place assessor can assess your needs, recommend solutions to your difficulties, to ensure you get the correct reasonable adjustments in place to carry out your role effectively,

What’s your job?

Talk to your workplace assessor about what type of work you do, and where and when you’re experiencing visual difficulties. The more help and advice you can get to maximize your existing vision, the more effectively and safely you’ll be able to continue working.

Workplace Adjustments

You may be having trouble with reading text on paper, completing forms, participating in team meetings or training, you may be having difficulties with the colour on your computer screen, font size or even just finding the mouse on the screen.  Your text on the keyboard may be difficult to see, and you find yourself with neck and back problems you have never experienced before. You may be troubled by headaches and need to explore the reason why? the lighting in your place of work may not be sufficient.  You may not feel confident navigating the workplace, negotiating stairs, or new areas to work. You may be making mistakes at work, or inadvertently bumping into things, perhaps your having difficulty recognising your colleagues.  You, the people with whom you work, including your employer, may have limited experience or knowledge about vision loss and low vision,  A visual impairment specialist workplace assessor can work with you to establish the difficulties you are having at work, understanding your individual need and what workplace adjustments can be put in place to assist you to overcome the barriers you are facing.

There are many solutions to these issues you may be facing, for example, magnifiers suitable for your needs, software that is able to read or magnify your screen, keyboards that are larger and easier to see.  Emotional support/job coaching to help you come to terms with your acquired sight loss. Lamps and lights that emit daylight rather than yellow light.  There is a vast array of specialist equipment available, and the important factor is for your employer to arrange a workplace needs assessment specifically in visual impairment, this person will be trained to identify and assess your individual needs, make the right recommendations for equipment and signpost you to the correct services to help overcome the barriers you are facing.  The assessor will take a holistic approach ensuring your health and wellbeing in all aspects of your life.

A realistic outlook

Are there any duties which you need to accept you can no longer perform? More obvious things are driving a vehicle, handling or moving equipment, or potentially dangerous or hazardous items.

Make a list of the essential tasks in your job that you will need to do to remain in your current employment. How can these be resolved? Or is there a member of the workforce who could perform a difficult or impossible task for you? Is there another responsibility that you could perform to replace this? After a diagnosis of sight loss, talking to your employer in a realistic way, offering pragmatic suggestions and negotiating options, is vital, not only for your health and wellbeing being but also for your employer to totally understand the difficulties you are experiencing.

Employer perception 

You may be the first person your employer has come across who has a visual impairment.  Some employers may embrace this, ensuring you have all the correct reasonable adjustments in place to fulfil your role, others may not know where to start.  They may not be aware of all the technological and environmental solutions that can aid you in your role.  Some employers may think “how will you use a computer”? “will you be safe carrying out your role”? but much of this is because employers do not know where to begin when seeking help.

Learning curve

As the change in your circumstances is new to you too, you will begin discovering more about workplace adaptations and the technology that can support you best.

It’s off to work I go

Getting to and from work may present additional difficulty, there are solutions to this and your work place assessor can advise.  When you arrive at work, you may have difficulty moving around your job site. Professionals, such as a rehabilitation officers, can give you huge support and teach you how to orientate yourself; taking a holistic approach, helping you to manage all aspects of your daily life and giving you the necessary tools to live and work as independently as possible. 

Your rights in employment

If you are blind or partially sighted, the Equality Act 2010 protects you from different types of discrimination at work.

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs

Paid Summer Internship at Top Insurance Firm

Evenbreak is looking for a number of talented disabled students to put forward for an amazing paid internship with Miller Insurance – a leading player in the London insurance sector. Miller Insurance are keen to attract a diverse range of candidates and have ring fenced one of the internships specifically for a disabled candidate.

You need to be:

  • Hardworking and enthusiastic, and interested in a career in the insurance industry
  • You should be on track for a 2.1 degree or above in any degree subject, ideally in your penultimate year at university
  • You should have the right to work in the UK

The successful candidate will attend a paid internship, lasting 7 weeks, in one of their broking business units. The internship scheme will run at their London office from 23 July – 7 September 2018, beginning with a comprehensive induction programme.

Working across several teams in their Specialty business unit, you will support the business with a variety of tasks including researching prospective clients. The placement will give you exposure to Miller and how the industry works, whilst developing relevant skills for your future career.

If you meet the criteria and wish to apply, please send your CV with a covering email saying why you should be put forward for this amazing opportunity to Jane Hatton on janeh@evenbreak.co.uk

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs