Faye, who lives with MPS IV Morquio, has overcome many hurdles to find accessible opportunities which allowed her to find the job role she always wanted. Here she shares her story of how she landed her dream job as an Occupational Therapist.
Before I started my studies, I worked for the County Council as an administrator for 4 years. I realised that I didn’t want to be stuck in an office for the rest of my working days and I wanted more of a challenge. So I looked into courses that would allow me to get out and work with people
After I was qualified, I worked as a Social Inclusion Development Worker for the NHS, where I worked a lot with Experts by Experience and helped them to become involved with the Trust. This was not an Occupational Therapy role, but some aspects of it were certainly similar to the OT job description. This was a maternity cover role, and took me up to March 2020, at the beginning of lockdown.
I now work as an Occupational Therapist, in a college for people with Learning Disabilities. It has taken me two years after qualifying to secure this job, and it is only for two days a week, but there is the potential for extra hours as more students join the college. I have a more hands-on role than I have ever had before, helping people to achieve their potential in terms of independence skills. This involves cooking skills, personal care, accessing the community and much more. Things are a bit different at the moment due to Covid-19 but so far I am really enjoying the role and I am looking forward to seeing how things pan out over the next few years.
It has taken longer than I expected to secure a permanent OT role, partly because of the need for wheelchair access within the workplace but also due to the stigma around people with disabilities.
Most of my job searching has been online, and that is how I found my current role and the role in Social Inclusion. I'm registered with Indeed and other job search sites, and received phone calls and emails from recruitment agencies but I’ve never really had much luck with them. It took me an extra two years to qualify as an Occupational Therapist because a couple of the placements I was given weren’t suitable, so I had to re do them.
This made me start to wonder whether I had made the right decision in leaving a full time job to study something I wasn’t sure if I could achieve, but now I have the job I always wanted, I realise that it was definitely the right decision, especially if I can increase my hours gradually.
I will never be able to work full time because of my ERT, but I do hope to be able to work and earn enough to buy somewhere to live in the future. I am currently living with my parents. I have lived on my own before, and I have a good team of PA’s who help me with personal care, so it is just a case of getting the funds together and finding the right place. Easier said than done, I’m sure, but I do like a challenge!