When I started applying for graduate jobs back in the early 90s, it didn?t cross my mind that my being in a wheelchair may hold me back. I am not sure if this was me being over confident, or terribly naïve, however I just got on with applying to 8 blue chip employers who offered graduate management training programmes.
The one thing I do recall, however, was being concerned about whether I should be open about my disability. I couldn?t ?hide? my wheelchair once I got to the interview however, if I ticked the ?disability box? on the application form, would I even get to the interview? There was no advice available and I didn?t know who to turn to to discuss such matters with. I ended up ticking the box.
I will never know how much my disability had an impact on the interviews I was offered, the rejections I received and the eventual job offer from Marks & Spencer who were, at the time, ranked 3rd in the Times Top 100 list of top graduate employers. I have gone on to have a hugely enjoyable career. After spending 3 ½ years with M&S I moved to Mars and the wonderful world of chocolate. It was here that I cut out a career in HR including becoming involved in Mars? graduate recruitment and graduate development programmes. Not only did it ignite my passion regards graduate recruitment, it also gave me the grounding I required to set up my business.
In 2006 I founded MyPlus Consulting to work with employers to help them to progress their disability agenda. The majority of work was focused on recruitment, and specifically graduate recruitment. 2010 saw the launch of OPEN, a careers event for disabled undergraduates interested in a career in law. Getting In followed in 2011, a similar event focused on investment banking, and in 2013 Great Opportunities was launched for sixth formers.