By One Young World ambassador: Anthony Ford
In 2009, I graduated from London University with a 2:1 in Geography, including a first class for my final dissertation. I was active in Student Union affairs, and was awarded one of the top Union awards for my involvement in Union politics, aimed at improving the university for both staff and students. Like every graduate, I started to apply for jobs. I had a degree from a top university, which made me think that no job would be impossible. But of course, being disabled meant the world wasn’t on my side. I applied for many jobs, both at charities and large businesses, and got many interviews. However, I was turned down from every job I applied for.
Eight years later, at the age of 31, I am still looking for work. I am regularly told I have an excellent CV, and good experience through unpaid work. However, my CV is full of volunteering jobs, which does not make it easy to get a paid position, particularly after so long out of work. Without a steady and consistent position, I was not able to consolidate and hone professional skills which I might otherwise have developed.
I am convinced that, despite being a good candidate for many of the jobs that I applied for, the main reason why I didn’t get them was due to having a disability, and the negative beliefs that go along with this. Will the negative attitudes of employers ever change?
Employers need to start recognising the talents of people with disabilities, and the value which they can bring to business. The #valuable campaign is one that I hope employers listen to, encouraging them to open their eyes and become aware of the potential of people with disabilities.
Anthony is a disability activist and is committed to building a world in which every disabled person is valued.