I know I spend a lot of my blog and time advocating for disabled people to live independently but let me tell you, sometimes this is hard. Really hard. I always had this idea that I would go to uni to study Media and then I would go and get a job in advertising or music promotion but that hasn’t exactly happened.
I did finish uni but it’s my life after uni that is the hardest. Like all graduates, finding that ‘grown up’ job is a nightmare, what about when that nightmare is amplified? Just before graduating I was told that working would not only affect my benefits (which I am absolutely fine with- the second I shake that label the better!) working would also affect the level of support I receive and the personal money contribution I have to make so that I can live independently. This was a sting in the tail. Yes OK I can apply for the ‘Access to Work’ grant and that would cover the support that I need in the workplace, but because I meet people at work I would not need social hours. It’s just insane.
So at the moment I volunteer at my local council helping with the Adult Social Care team. And in all honesty I’m learning a lot, about how things work, other people and about myself. I now know that I want a career where I can help others and try to make a difference to people’s lives, right now the only way to do that was to volunteer.
Volunteering, like all things in life, comes with it’s fair share of challenges. I find that when I tell people I volunteer as my current job some will almost disregard it as something you ‘do for an hour and then forget about’ but as this was and is my only way into employment right now, I try to treat as a ‘real job’ as much as possible. Although one massive benefit of volunteering is that you only have to take on as much as you want. If I’m having a bad week, or want time off, or have other commitments it’s okay because I can fit it around me. I guess this is one thing that people in paid employment only wish they could do.
If anyone is struggling getting into employment and is in a similar position after graduation with various ridiculous rules then I would certainly recommend volunteering. It can be worth while and you are almost guaranteed to learn a new skill or two.
It would be so handy to know what other experiences people have had surrounding work with a disability or just after graduation in general! I just hope that one day soon the perfect paid job will come along and this little issue can be resolved and hopefully others can also prepare for what could happen- no one likes it when a plan doesn’t work out, particularly if one of the reasons why the plan hasn’t worked out is because the government have stupid rules surrounding supporting those with complex needs to work.
Until Next Time
Until Next Time