Hosted by BP, London
If you ever needed reminding of the incredible strengths that disabled people have, and can bring to an organisation, then this morning’s Breakfast Seminar was that reminder. Five undergraduates / recent graduates each shared their journey of how they acquired their disability and have subsequently gone on to manage it during their education and into the workplace. Covering topics such as cancer, dyslexia, heart conditions, chronic pain, anxiety and depression, our speakers helped us to understand the challenges that they have faced, and continue to face, and how they deal with them.
The purpose of the seminar was to help the delegates understand more about disability since, as with any target group, you have to first understand them in order to be able to engage with them. And this is never more so than with disabled students who, in addition to having the usual questions that students have, also have another level of questions which are associated with their disability or health condition. Understanding these are crucial if employers wish to attract them to their organization and provide appropriate support during the recruitment process.
The delegates rotated between the 5 tables, with each table having a student / graduate speaker who spoke for around 10 minutes and also took questions. Although the speakers focused on, what to them, was their ‘normal’ - to those listening it was apparent that what they dealt with on a daily basis was far from normal for most people. And coping with pain, chemotherapy, late diagnosis of dyslexia, anxiety, and other such conditions had forced these individuals to develop skills and strengths that any employer would be keen to recruit. Strengths such as resilience, determination, tenacity and an amazing capacity for sheer hard work enabling them to achieve the career aspirations to which they aspire.
However what really stood out was that these individuals didn’t recognise their own abilities; rather they were concerned with how employers would view their disability and whether or not they would be supported. For those employers present however, there was no doubt in their minds that if they could tap into this talent pool they would be leaving their competitors far behind in terms of the skills, strengths and capabilities they would be bringing into their organisation.
Abbi is a Law undergraduate her first year at Bournemouth University. She has a mixed anxiety-depressive disorder, which is where anxiety and depression symptoms are both present, but one is neither more dominant than the other.
Alia De Bellotte
Alia is a trainee solicitor in the Bexleyheath Office of T G Baynes Solicitors. Prior to starting at T G Baynes, Alia studied Law at the University of Greenwich and then went on to complete a PgDip in International Legal Practice before working in marketing for Barbri International and then the Law Society. Alia was diagnosed with chronic neuropathic pain at 15 years old and currently manages her condition through medication.
Laura has suffered from Anxiety and Depressive Disorder since the age of 18. She is now in her first year of studying Law at Bournemouth University as a mature student. She is very open about her mental health condition and has learnt to cope with it through the years, especially in regards to the working environment through talking therapies and medication.
Jasmine is currently studying for her GDL at BPP Law school. Having read Anthropology at Durham University, she went on to secure a role with SABMiller through the Change100 Disability Internship programme. Following this, Jasmine was awarded a British Council & CRCC Asia Disability Scholarship to work in Marketing and Relationships with the British Council in Shanghai. Jasmine has a heart condition and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.
Kinza Athar is a third-year student studying for a Master’s degree in Chemistry. In her second year of university Kinza was diagnosed with dyslexia. She is currently on an industrial placement at GlaxoSmithKline as a new product development scientist, whilst completing her third-year modules via distance learning. Having won the Venturefest East Midlands next generation business competition, she is currently finalising her business plan hoping to pitch to potential investors. In her spare time Kinza represents Shepperton Cricket club in league matches.
Breakfast Seminars are exclusively for members of the Recruiter’s Club. They are ideal for anyone wishing to build their understanding of different types of disabilities and the impact it can have on the individual from study, extra curricular activities and the workplace.