This week has been a great week for getting out and about and offering advice on training , apprenticeships and simple meeting people again.
I have been working at Head of Partnerships since April 2021. The number of contacts and organisations has increased by nearly double. I have trouble keeping track and making sure I support them all. The business has grown geographical as well as in volume. Which is perfect when working for a new business.
Coming out of the pandemic in the UK, I have found twice if not three times as many organisations with aims at getting people into meaningful employment, training and support. I welcome contact from all, the construction industry has a place for all.
My role is to work alongside them, look at training opportunities and increase the number of people going into meaningful apprenticeships. Obviously, with my employer and I am heavily supported by one of the most professional commercial teams I’ve worked with. They all have an aim to help as far as we can, all people. Some take to employment within the sector within weeks and others take a bit longer.
This week has been exceptional, I was invited to attend two events on two consecutive days in the City of Bristol.
However, if I was sighted and with my own transport it would of been a breeze. Drive up with all my clothes and marketing equipment, in the boot of the car. Then attend the events, either stay over in a reasonable priced hotel or commute back and forth.
This is were being disabled and unable to drive causes you to have to think differently.
Tuesday, I had meetings with our team in Plymouth starting at 0800, this means a 0530 leave the house, walk Teal and jump into a support workers car. When we arrive, they help me set up my work station, settle Teal ie take her for a walk and then leave. It was more cost effective to let my support worker go home and meet me later in the week.
I stay over in my shared house. I am looking for a cheaper option, if anyone has room for Teal and I, for one maybe two nights a week, please get in touch.
Wednesday, I fell out of bed at 0530, took Teal for some free time and caught the 0630 train to Bristol.
Has anyone used the app Seatfrog? It lets you upgrade your Tain ticket to 1st class and just for a few pounds. Obviously, I pay for that and enjoy its benefits.
I then got a taxi, as I didn’t know where the venue was, and I didn’t feel like getting lost in the city with no curbs!
I do love a curb free place, it lets mobility scooters move about without to many hiccups.
However, when you blind with a guide dog, a dog which is trained to ‘find the curb” you’ve got no hope and need to have your wits about you. Especially when you find yourself in the bike and scooter lane! They hurt!
I attended the event, part way through, Teal, escaped and wondered around the audience being smoothed, until she decided to come back to me. I am so sorry and apologies to the speaker that was part way through, when teal decided to have a clean…Teal !
After the meeting and lunch, I then joined a webinar in the corner of the venue. I do love, the fact that you can attend meetings from anywhere and I do wonder why people in my type of work need desks in offices?
I then walked back through the City to catch a train. This time, due to the next days travel needs, I was met by my support worker in Tiverton and taken home.
The next morning, the support worker picked me up, with boxes and banners and Teal with her bags and set off back to Bristol. We did our job, the support worker did there’s and we then set of back down the M5 to sunny Ilfracombe. Basically in the three days, Teal and I racked up 36 hours of working and travelling.
Please don’t think I am complaining, I believe that is this is what I need to do to make my job happen. My employer is aware and considerate.
I must thank everyone involved in the logistics, these include Teal. She is so good at getting through crowds of people and putting up with being smoothed.
My support workers, who are funded through Access to Work. They drive me about, look after my wellbeing and some times spending 12 hours at work! They then make sure I’m safe and looked after.
The fund is available in the UK to support all disabled people to have meaningful employment. I am very lucky and make sure that my work is of a benefit to others.
Then there is the people I talk to, how many of them actually notice I’m blind? Disability, is different to everyone. I blend in nicely, as long as I’m stood still!
I do apologise to all those people that offered me a hand shake. I simple cannot see below my chin!
Next week, we are speaking at an event at Plymouth Argyle on apprenticeships within construction. I will be stood on a stage… what could go wrong?
Thanks you for reading and please keep an eye on the Blind Man Roy Facebook page.