As part of Employment Support’s takeover of our social media pages, we now hear from Danny Oliver and Employability Co-ordinator.
Danny left school with no interest in further education so, having left his part-time job in a supermarket, he signed on at the Jobcentre and started doing casual voluntary work for a voluntary sector organisation supporting people with learning disabilities. This led to full-time work and the opportunity to complete a social care qualification with the support of his employers. He stayed with the organisation for 14 years, before a move to Orkney saw him take on his current role with Orkney Health and Care.
Can you describe a typical day in your job?
I support people with learning disabilities or autism to get jobs. My days vary a lot. I could be working alongside a client in their workplace supporting them to learn how to do their job, speaking to employers about creating opportunities for people with learning disabilities or supporting an autistic person to prepare for a job interview.
How did you end up in this role?
I did OK in my exams at school but left without much interest in further education and recently having left a part time job in a supermarket. I signed on at the Jobcentre and having been out of work for a while I started doing casual work for a voluntary sector organisation supporting people with learning disabilities. This led onto full-time work and I stayed with that organisation for 14 years working at a variety of different levels. During that time I completed a social care qualification which was paid for by my employer. Following a move to Orkney in 2016 I took up my current role as an Employability Co-ordinator with Orkney Islands Council.
What is the best thing about your job?
Many people with learning disabilities are excluded from everyday things that others take for granted such as paid employment. Seeing people break through these barriers and the pride some get from going to work just like everyone else can be rewarding.
What is the worst thing about your job?
Trying to convince employers, who are busy and have other things on their mind, to create job opportunities for people with learning disabilities.
What skills do you need to undertake your role?
You need excellent communication skills and the ability to see the potential in other people rather than their limitations.
Most of the time you are working on your own so you need to be able to use your initiative and make decisions independently.
What qualifications do you have?
HEC in Person Centred Approaches.
Would you recommend this job to young people, if so why?
I think working in social care generally is something young people should consider. New staff are always needed and although some other industries might pay a bit better the fact you’re doing something really worthwhile can make a big difference to your life as well to the people you support.
It also gives you the opportunity to gain qualifications while earning a wage.
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