'I feel like I've been given a chance': man with learning disabilities lands first job (From Times Series)
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'I feel like I've been given a chance': man with learning disabilities lands first job in Friern Barnet
After three years of unsuccessfully applying for jobs in Barnet, a 38-year-old with learning disabilities has finally “been given a chance”.
Pursotam Patel of Long Lane, Finchley, was used to working hard and would often volunteer for charities – but his dream was to be in full time, paid employment.
Speaking to the Times Series he said: “I constantly applied for a lot of jobs and I sent out a lot of CVs but I didn’t get any replies. I just wanted to be able to work.
“I think there are people who think negatively about people with learning disabilities – but all we need is a chance.”
After struggling year after year, Mr Patel sought help at Dimensions, a not-for-profit organisation which supports people with learning disabilities and autism.
They took him for a face-to-face chat with employers at Currys PC World in Friern Barnet – and after seeing something special in Mr Patel, they invited him to do three months work experience.
Mr Patel said: “The day I walked in the store with my job coach to start my work experience was the happiest day of my life.
“Then when that was over they asked me to take on a permanent role as a sales assistant. I was over the moon – it made me feel really, really happy. I feel like I’ve been given a chance.”
Now Mr Patel hopes to inspire other people who have learning disabilities not to give up on their aspirations of landing their dream job.
He said: “I think everyone with learning disabilities can work – it doesn’t affect you from doing that. It’s good because it allows you to get out and about, meet new people and learn new skills.
“After starting work, I feel really confident. Now I see myself in a different light.”
Lillie Stoute, Dimensions’ supported employment coordinator in Barnet, said: “Supported employment is a way of tackling prejudices and ensuring that community members recognise that people with learning disabilities and autism work hard and contribute in society.
“Once we got to know Pursotam, we realised that he had many transferable skills.”
Jayne Napthine, team leader at Currys PC World, said: “We recognised instantly what he would bring to the role and he’s really fitted in well.
“As en employer, it’s really important to us to be able to employ people from a wide variety of backgrounds and Pursotam has added diversity to our business.”
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