What was your dream job as a child?


Picture of the words 'dream job'
Picture of the words ‘dream job’ written in multicoloured chalk

Written by Kiana Kalantar-Hormozi, Evenbreak’s Candidate Engagement Manager.

We spoke to five different disabled candidates about their dream job as a child. We asked them what they do now. What barriers have they faced? How did they overcome them? And made a video to share their answers with the world…

As a child I wanted to be Pocahontas – yip, that was my dream job. At the age of two, it seemed like a viable career option to me.

I grew up and went through the astronaut phase. By then I was seven years old. Old enough for adults to start treating me like a person and not a gurgling baby to coo at. It was then an adult said, “You can’t be an astronaut”. Why? I asked. “Because you’re in a wheelchair and you can’t go into space with a wheelchair, they responded”.

By the age of eight, I wanted to become an actress. I saw Harry Potter on the billboards and thought ‘How come Daniel Radcliffe gets to be Harry Potter? I wanna be Harry Potter!’ I wasn’t content to sit and watch – I wanted to be in the movie.

What if you’re told you can’t do your dream job because of your disability?

Yet again I got hit with “You can’t be an actress you’re in a wheelchair”.

I was growing up and starting to wonder what I could be. Everything I wanted to do was not possible or not allowed. I didn’t understand the reasons. But they always culminated with “you’re in a wheelchair”.

I’m now near 25 years old. I’m a pro-filmmaker, semi-amateur rapper and proud member of Evenbreak. I’ve done almost every single thing people have told me I can’t do in life (when I’ve put my mind to it). I’m still working on space travel…

But back to our video! It was a challenge bringing five disabled people across the UK together on the same day. But disabled people tend to be good at problem-solving, and all five wanted to succeed.

And it was worth every minute.

Each person so different –  As children, they dreamed of being a broadcaster, an actress,  a fireman, a stuntwoman, and a space crew member.

Society forgets that disabled people are just as diverse and talented as non-disabled people. It was important to showcase that on video. We wanted people to hear authentic stories through the power of 21st Century technology and good old social media!

We learnt about what they do now, their hopes for the future, the barriers they’ve faced and how they’ve dealt with those barriers. We learnt about negative reactions and discrimination. All expressed concern about those two things turning into an awful self-perpetuating cycle. But we also learnt about pushing forward, no matter what.

There was one unifying message to all disabled candidates: Put yourself out there for opportunities. Know your rights. Realise that you offer immense value because of your unique experiences, and finally, believe in yourself. Enjoy!


Fancy being paid to get your degree?

  • Develop into the kind of leader that others want to follow, leading a team of up to 15 colleagues by your third year
  • Gain a BA (Hons) in Business Management and Leadership, and CMI status with the Chartered Management Institute
  • Work with, and learn from, our senior leadership team

Barclays Higher Apprenticeship programme offers you a paid-for degree, a full time job, study leave AND a salary. So on gaining your degree, you also have three years relevant work experience and no student debt.

There is no age limit, and Barclays are looking for anyone with the ambition to be a leader. All they ask is that if you left school less than 12 months ago you have achieved a minimum of 80 UCAS Points (in any subject), or otherwise that you have a minimum of 12 month’s work experience (in any field or sector). They are really keen to attract a diverse range of applicants.

There are more details here on how to apply online.

However, if you are disabled or have a long term health condition and online application doesn’t work for you, Barclays are piloting a groundbreaking alternative scheme called Able to Enable, ring fenced for 10 candidates, which offers a face-to-face experience, involving a number of stages:

Barclays Life-skills: a two-hour informal group session with other potential candidates in Manchester, Birmingham or London, focused on confidence-building and identifying transferable skills/strengths

Barclays and You: an informal group session where you learn more about the scheme, and have some interactive training

Real Experience: 13 weeks paid internship in a local branch (Manchester, Midlands or London), sampling different roles, and with adjustments to meet your needs

Barclays and You: Conversation to decide whether progression to the main degree programme is right for you

Higher Apprenticeship: You begin your 3 year BA (Hons) degree and a full time career with Barclays, with study blocks and support from the university and Barclays staff. You design your own career path, on a rotation sampling various elements of banking life. The degree is fully funded, and you are paid a salary throughout.

In order to be considered for this alternative assessment, the following must apply:

  • You have a clear motivation for becoming a future leader
  • You are able to work full time for the duration of the internship and, if successful, throughout the BHAP programme (3 years)
  • You have a Legal Right to Work in the UK for a minimum of circa 4 years (duration of internship and programme)
  • You can feasibly commute to the proposed pilot branches in your community (Manchester, Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton and various locations in London)
  • If you left school less than 12 months ago, you should have  achieved a minimum of 80 UCAS points (in any subject
  • If that’s not the case, that you should have at least one year’s work experience (in any field)
  • You must be referred by a partner organisation (Evenbreak is one of these!)
If this seems like an exciting opportunity for you, please contact me, Jane Hatton, on janeh@evenbreak.co.uk or 07899 800476 to discuss the possibility of Evenbreak referring you for the programme. The timeline is tight tho, so please contact me before Friday 23rd February.
The Higher Apprenticeships are a great way to be paid while you do your degree, and for most candidates the online application will be appropriate. The Able to Enable scheme is specifically for disabled candidates for whom online application really isn’t applicable, and who would prefer a more informal and personal assessment process. It’s new, ground-breaking and very exciting!

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 Confident are your Managers around Stammering?

When I talk to employers about disability, the conversation can range from people who use wheelchairs, autistic people, people with sight or hearing impairment, and perhaps mental health and learning disabilities. Stammering is not often mentioned, even though 1 in 100 adults stammer. There are over 300,000 people who stammer – equal to the population of Cardiff – among the employed population of the United Kingdom.

Most employers do not know how many of their employees stammer. This is partly because many people who stammer will go to immense lengths to hide it. Some are very successful at doing so, but often at great cost to themselves and in ways that may affect their prospects and productivity.  People generally think they know what stammering is because they recognise it when they hear it, but in fact colleagues and managers may have absolutely no idea that they have someone who stammers in their team. And people who stammer often don’t find it easy to talk about it unless the conditions are right to do so.

In short, the implications of stammering at work can impact on both employer and employees, and managers benefit hugely from being trained in ways they can address this issue. The British Stammering Association offer a superb workshop around stammering awareness for managers called Introduction to Stammering Workshop.

The course highlights key areas of focus for employers to provide appropriate levels and types of support. It will also equip you with detailed ideas for actions and practice you can take and use in your own workplace. Two experienced trainers, a leading Speech & Language Therapist, and the Chief Executive of the British Stammering Association take a group of up to 18 managers (HR, recruitment, D & I, line managers etc) through a workshop to enable them to:

  • Have an improved understanding of the different aspects of stammering and its potential impact in the workplace
  • Be aware of the stigma surrounding stammering and the unconscious bias facing people who stammer
  • Have identified barriers facing people who stammer in the workplace, and how these may impact on your organisation’s recruitment and performance
  • Have a clear insight into different types of adjustments for people who stammer, and how these can impact positively on the wider workforce.
The course can be delivered in your own premises, saving travelling time and costs for participants.
Feedback from managers attending the workshop includes:
“It’s been really revelatory. I had no idea of the impact stammering has on people, and what we need to do as an organisation to encourage people to feel comfortable enough to disclose.”
“I found it most helpful to understand the barriers. I feel people want to help, they just need to be told how … Powerful to hear directly the lived experience of people who stammer.”
“Very knowledgeable and inclusive presenters. Well-balanced, informative and delivered in a relaxed and interactive way.”
“I have a much increased awareness and feel it will help my communication with a senior manager who stammers.”
If your managers are not confident around stammering, this will almost certainly be restricting the opportunities your organisation has to benefit from the talents of people who stammer.
For a conversation about how this training might support your managers, please contact Helen Carpenter on  hc@stammering.org or call her on 020 8983 1003.

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


Where can Employers go for help with Disability Inclusion?

Making your organisation as accessible and inclusive as possible is a laudable aim, and one that increasing numbers of organisations are now recognising the importance of. There are, of course, many organisations that will offer support and guidance in this area (we particularly recommend Kate Nash for help with Disabled Employee Networks and Purple for help with becoming Disability Confident).

If you aren’t already a member of Business Disability Forum, now might be a good time to consider it. They are a not-for-profit member organisation that makes it easier and more rewarding to do business with and employ disabled people. They have more than twenty years experience of working with public and private sector organisations (formerly known as the Employers’ Forum on Disability). Their members employ almost 20% of the UK workforce and, together, they seek to remove the barriers between public and private organisations and disabled people. They are a key stakeholder for both business and government, and have contributed to the establishment and development of meaningful disability discrimination legislation in the UK.

Services offered to members are excellent, and include a valuable advice service with guidance offered always tailored to your situation

They also offer consultancy services to help you put in place robust policies and procedures that will equip your line managers and other colleagues to avoid or minimise risk before it arises and strengthen your disability-smart approach to working with disabled employees and customers.

Their learning and development offers will provide your colleagues with the skills and confidence to help ensure that a disability-smart approach is embedded in your organisation’s daily practice.

There is no virtue in trying to do everything from scratch, and learning from experts, and your peers who are on the same journey, can save a lot of time and effort. It may well be worth having a chat with the lovely people at BDF to see if your organisation might benefit.

Oh – and before I forget – BDF members have a 10% discount from unlimited advertising with Evenbreak, as we have a strategic alliance with them! What’s not to like?

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

Lloyds Banking Group Student Insight Evening

Evenbreak and Lloyds Banking Group are working together to support disabled students.

Join us for two valuable hours of career discovery and networking with Lloyds Banking Group professionals on Wednesday, 6th December at 6.30pm – 8.30pm.

Find out about your career choices, build your employability skills, network with current graduates and discover how we support graduates and colleagues with disabilities across the Group

This insight event aims to help you upskill and discover more about life at Lloyds Banking Group through our former interns and graduates, like Louis and Ross from our Group Disability Programme. Learn how we can support your disability or long term health condition through our Group Disability Programme and Access Disability Network, as well as develop key employability skills to help you excel in your career. Expect activities that will help boost your confidence, improve your communication skills and develop your personal impact.

If you require any adjustments for the event, related to your disability or long-term health condition, please indicate this on the registration form. We will then contact you to make these arrangements.

Register to secure your place here

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

Alternatives to Interviews

There is much evidence (e.g. here and here) that interviews are a poor way of assessing a candidate’s abilities to do the job required. We tend to appoint the candidate who is best at selling themselves at interview, rather than the best person for the job. Not all candidates are good at selling themselves (for example, people on the autism spectrum, or people with learning difficulties).

There is also a risk of conscious or unconscious bias coming into play at interviews. The interviewer may have prejudices against certain groups of people, for example women, gay people or older people, which they may or may not be aware of.

The other disadvantage with interviews or assessment centres, is that it requires the candidate to travel to a specific location.

Thankfully there are alternative, and much more effective, methods available to you.


It may be more accurate to test candidates on relevant tasks that they would be expected to perform in the role. So, for example, an autistic candidate may find it difficult to articulate their expertise in coding, but could demonstrate their abilities with a test accompanied with clear and explicit instructions. A person with learning difficulties may be able to show you how they meet and greet people in a hospitality environment more easily than describe their skills to you.

Work experience

This is particularly useful for people with learning difficulties, but can also be effective for other candidates. It also gives you a much more accurate picture of their abilities, potential, enthusiasm, personality and capabilities in the environment they would be working in.


Observing candidates carrying out tasks at their current place of work or educational establishment can be useful if their current work is similar to the post they are applying for.

Supported internships and training schemes

These are described in more detail in our best practice portal, but having a person work with you and be trained in your place of work with the support they require means that at the end of the programme you have a very clear and reliable idea of whether their skills match the role.

Online tests

These have the benefit that they can be carried out in the candidate’s home, saving on travelling issues, and in an environment where the candidate feels more confident and hopefully has assistive technology as required.


Whilst psychometric tests have their limitations, there are new online games that can be used to measure a candidate’s behaviours. A good example of these can be found at Ipsemet, enabling candidates to “play” a game which involves making decisions and demonstrating how they react under different conditions.

There is not a “one size fits all” and not all of these methods will suit every candidate or every role, but it is useful to remember that there are alternatives to the traditional interview which can often be a more reliable predictor of future performance.

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



Talent that most employers haven’t spotted!

When I’m not busy with Evenbreak, I am lucky enough to be a Patron of the Inclusive Skills Competitions. These competitions provide an opportunity for young people with learning disabilities and difficulties to showcase their skills, and they celebrate that talent can be found in everyone.

Last week I went to see two competitions being held at South Thames College in South London. The first was in catering. Competitors had to prepare and present a range of items for afternoon tea. They were marked on a range of skills including hygiene, safety, presentation and others.

Preparing the sandwich
Preparing the sandwich

Competitors were supplied with all the necessary ingredients and equipment, and were given 90 minutes to complete the task. I was impressed with the organisational skills they displayed, the amount of focus on the details, and also the attention paid to cleanliness and safety.

Every competitor received a certificate for completing the task, and as it was a competition, three were given first, second and third place. However, in my view, every competitor was a winner, and if I were to go for afternoon tea at a high end hotel (not something I do on a regular basis, to be fair!), I would be thrilled to be presented with any of the entries.

The finished product
The finished product

The second competition, also on the theme of hospitality, was on laying a table – not as straightforward as it might seem! The theme for the competition was to lay a table for two with a “Great Gatsby” theme. Competitors were again judged against a variety of criteria, including attention to detail (polishing the cutlery correctly, placing the right items in the right place) and artistic presentation, complete with table decorations.

Checking for last minute adjustments
Checking for last minute adjustments

Again, the competitors were impressive, following a protocol and paying great attention to detail. I would be delighted to eat in a restaurant where the tables were laid out so beautifully.

The young people who enter these competitions have much to offer the right employers. With good training and the right support, they are highly motivated to produce their best work. The young people I met at these competitions would thrive in roles which have a routine to follow in settings such as cafes, hotels, and so on. However, this is not a pool of talent that many employers are even aware of.

For employers who would like to see young people showcase their talent, a number of national finals of the Inclusive Skills Competitions will be held at the Skills Show in Birmingham in November. It would be great to see you there!

In the meantime, you may want to consider employing, or offering work experience to our young people. Have a look at some stories of how students and their employers have benefitted.

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


Support for disabled jobseekers in London

We are always looking for other organisations who provide useful services to our candidates, and we like the look of this programme in North and East London.

Inspiring Families is a new programme helping, amongst others, disabled people to find work. If you live in any of these London Boroughs – Enfield, Haringey, Waltham Forest, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Newham, Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham, Greenwich or Havering, this might be the programme for you.

Benefits include:

  • Your own Personal Adviser
  • Support with family issues
  • Motivation and confidence building
  • Access to vacancies
  • Job search support
  • Job application support
  • CV and interview preparation
  • Better off in work calculations
  • Signposting to local services

If you are interested in finding out more, please contact Sean Talbot on Sean.Talbot@serco.com today for a confidential chat about joining the Inspiring Families programme, and to see if you are eligible.

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