Working with disability
IT and business student Adeel Ramzan joined our Newcastle office on a work placement as part of a Percy Hedley Foundation employability project, funded by a Reaching Communities grant.
In this blog, Adeel, Big Lottery Fund corporate assistant Jill Patterson and funding manager Keith Moyle discuss the valuable learning opportunities for all parties.
“Hi, I am Adeel Ramzan and I am 21-years-old. I am currently doing a Business Administration course at Percy Hedley College, and at Newcastle College I’m studying a computer skills course (ECDL) and working towards a GCSE in English.
“I have cerebral palsy and I am a wheelchair user, but that does not define me. I am a normal, regular lad who likes socialising with friends, football, banter and girls!
Adeel adds: “I use a communication aid to help me talk. It works by infrared, so I need to wear a silver dot on my forehead so the signal bounces back and forward to the camera. I control the mouse on my communication aid by moving my head where needed. I can use a regular computer by connecting it to my communication aid via a USB Bluetooth cable.
Making ‘small adjustments’
“On my work placement at Big Lottery Fund my work includes archiving and the post. I really enjoy my time here because the staff are so lovely and easy to get along with.
“I work closely with Jill Patterson. She knows how I work and treats me like everyone else, which I appreciate very much. I love the way she has a joke with me sometimes, too.
“I am hopeful that my time spent here at Big Lottery Fund will teach me new things and give me better understanding of the working world.”
Adeel’s placement has been a valuable one for his mentor, Jill, who had this to say:
“I think I have learnt and gained as much from this experience as Adeel has, says Jill.
“I have found Adeel to be really good company and very funny, but we have also managed to work as well. I have learnt about considering alternative methods of working and learning, and how small adjustments to work stations can have a big effect on abilities to work.”
Adeel’s funding manager, Keith Moyle, says it was important that Adeel’s work placement was “meaningful” despite the challenges presented.
“We wanted to be sure we could provide a placement that both met Adeel’s expectations and offered him a real taste of the world of work – as well as a learning opportunity for ourselves. I think it has gone really well, and look forward to feedback from Adeel and the team whom he worked with at the end of his placement.”
Look out for Adeel’s reflections on working for Big Lottery Fund after his placement finishes in July.