A disabled university graduate has told how she fears she is being overlooked by employers.
Marti Hayes, from Basingstoke, says: ‘I’ve filled out loads of job applications but I worry managers are put off when they see I’ve ticked the box declaring I have a disability.’
The 24-year-old has a rare lung condition, meaning she can’t walk down the road without stopping to catch her breath.
Although it is against the law for employers to discriminate against people who have a disability, Marti explains her fears are founded on past experience.
She says: ‘Many people have said I can’t follow my dreams and I’m not able to do the things I want to do.
‘I’ve experienced bullying, unkindness and judgement and I know I’m not alone.
‘Disabled people often say they are disregarded, resulting in low self-esteem and low confidence.’
Keen to encourage other young disabled people to believe in themselves, Marti has produced a leaflet with Fixers featuring practical tips for job hunting as well as guidance for anyone working with the
Marti, who graduated from the University of Southampton in 2014, says: ‘It’s frustrating because people don’t meet you before they see the CV.
‘Some employers don’t see all the positive things we can offer. Having a long-term health condition has made me hard working, more driven and compassionate.
'I always think if they don’t want me because I’ve got a disability, they’re not someone I want to work for.’
To read the booklet, click on the link below.
For her leaflet, Marti enlisted the help of two inspirational women, Paralympic wheelchair racer Hannah
Cockroft and Carly Jones, a carer, filmmaker and activist who has Asperger’s syndrome.
Both women have contributed to the leaflet by sharing their personal experiences and views on the wealth of positive qualities that young people with learning difficulties and disabilities can offer in the workplace.
Carly, who supports young people with autism, says: ‘I hope that every single underestimated person becomes confident in their own ability and talent so they can aspire to employment of any kind.’
Marti, who plans to share her leaflet with Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, says: ‘Don’t give up. You have a lot to offer the world.’
To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below.