If you are a student considering a career in London, you will doubtless have a number of issues and concerns. Joining a profession is daunting for any student, but for those with a long term health condition or a disability, it can be even more difficult.
Should you disclose your disability? When and how should you do so? How will employers react? What adjustments is it reasonable for them to make when you attend an interview or start a vacation scheme? Will you meet with prejudice in the work place? How is it best to tackle such matters?
Faced with so many questions, some students can be extremely daunted at the prospect of approaching City employers. Of course you will see that many of the companies and institutions in the City advertise disability friendly policies, hold disability open days or retain consultants to persuade you that you have nothing to fear. As you will have gathered, it is important to them to be seen as diverse and inclusive. But if they do recruit you, what is the reality when you get there?
City Disabilities was set up to assist students and professionals working with disabilities. We offer a mentoring scheme – matching you with people who work in the City as successful professionals, and who themselves have a disability or long term health condition. They are a diverse group of people, who have dealt with mobility, sight, hearing and mental health issues, to name just a few. They work in a range of professions and at varying levels of seniority. Throughout their careers they have dealt with a range of matters that students will no doubt experience too. They can offer honest, pragmatic advice, and act as a sounding board for your thoughts on how best to deal with your particular circumstances.
We find that meeting people with first-hand experience of the same issues is very helpful. We are not tied to any firm or institution and we have no agenda save to help others like us. We want to make London a fairer, more human place for people with disabilities who want to pursue careers here.
The City Disabilities team is:
- Robert Hunter (Trustee), partner in a major city law firm (Robert also happens to be profoundly deaf);
- Kate Rees-Doherty, (Trustee) an associate at Boodle Hatfield and an expert in Charities law with extensive experience of working with and enabling colleagues with disabilities;
- Kayleigh Farmer, (Trustee) a legal personal executive who has supported and enabled a number of solicitors with disabilities; and
- Liz Dawes (Trust Officer), previously deputy general counsel for an asset manager, now responsible for the day to day work of City Disabilities (and mother of two children with disabilities.)
We can assist you as you decide on a future career in London in the following ways:
- by supporting you through the process of job applications and interviews;
- by putting you in touch with a mentor who has first-hand experience of the professions and organisations that you might want to join; and
- once you have a job, by offering you a mentor to guide you through any of the issues you may face.
You can find our website and contact details here: www.citydisabilities.org.uk. We wish all the students at Kent University the very best of luck as they begin their careers – and please do get in touch if you think we can help.