Earlier this year Lisa, a fully qualified, award-winning journalist, found herself in a position where she struggled to find a job. “It was incredibly frustrating,” she said. “My experience and skills had led to me being headhunted in the past, so it was a bit of a shock to suddenly find myself unable to secure employment. Nothing had changed – that is except for my diagnosis with multiple sclerosis in 2008.
“At the time of my diagnosis I was the production editor for a large group of newspapers,overseeing 48 weekly deadlines across the south east of England. My MS wasn’t an issue or hindrance to me, or to my company and colleagues. I was still the same driven, ambitious person with all the same skills, experience and qualifications.
“I reduced my hours in 2011, when I found I was in a position financially to do so, which also helped me reduce my tiredness and stress and kept me as healthy, productive and dynamic as I’d ever been. My knowledge of media law and my experience and contacts proved vital to the effective running of that newsroom until the company changed hands and I was made redundant in December 2012.
"To be honest, that was the first point that I had ever begun to consider myself as ‘disabled’. I began to realise that perhaps potential employers viewed me that way. I could see no other reason why I was not even being invited for interviews for the same kind of roles I had successfully applied for in the past. If anything, I now had even more experience and knowledge than I had when I had previously looked for work.
"Fortunately my Disability Employment Advisor (DEA) put me in touch with a colleague at the Salvation Army who was involved with a Work Choice scheme. She immediately acknowledged my skills and strong desire to work and circulated my CV to 'positive' employers. A few days later I received a call from Jill Poet at ORB and was invited to attend an interview for the role of media manager. I’m delighted to say the interview was a success and I begun working at ORB in February.
“The Work Choice scheme has brought huge benefits to both myself and my employers. I am able to carry out most of my work from my own home during the hours when I am at my most productive. This not only ticks the environment box of reducing emissions by travel to work, ORB is also reaping the benefits of having a highly skilled, experienced and eager journalist on the team."