How did you get started in your career and what drew you to EY?
Suffering from cerebral palsy, I started my education in a special needs school. I pursued academics through mainstream secondary schooling and sixth form and studied a BSc Mathematics course at the University of Bath.
A summer internship at EY secured a graduate offer, whilst I also experienced life in a graduate recruitment charity, which focused on disabled applicants. During my time at EY, I have gained a CIMA CBA qualification and an ISO27001 qualification in Information Security.
What are your daily responsibilities in your role?
I work in Advisory in EY, more specifically within IT Risk and Assurance, with a focus on Companies which provide Financial Services. This takes me out onsite to some of the largest investment banks and insurance companies in the World, where EY provide IT Advisory services. This can be anything from performing assessments of their own IT Security to assessments of the IT Security of services our clients perform for their clients!
How do you manage your disability at work?
I know my own strengths and limitations, and I’m sure to always communicate these with my colleagues and superiors. A friendly, approachable culture at EY means I am never worried to say if I feel my disability may interfere with my work. Albeit, my disability rarely interferes, and this is due to me being proactive about the challenges I face. For example, I’m sure to avoid the morning London rush by arriving to work early (plus not using the Tube network!), and I transport a lightweight laptop (provided by EY) so I’m not weighed down on my commute. Also, when feeling tired, I tend to work remotely from home as encouraged by EY’s flexible working initiates.
How has your employer helped you to do well at your workplace?
EY want their employees to focus on their strengths. They promptly put in place a Tailored Adjustment Agreement for me, which involved workplace adjustments for my comfort in the office, and then details of how I can maintain a work/life balance in line with my disability and overall health. EY also have a far-reaching Disability Working Group, which exists to unite and encourage anyone at the firm that has challenges related to a disability.
How would you describe the culture at Ernst & Young?
EY empowers its employees to make a difference. They have a structured counseling program for all employees and offer support, whether it is for overcoming physical challenges or dealing with the emotional pressures of working life. Not only do EY offer a wide range of professional and vocational qualifications and schemes, they actively encourage their employees to give something back. For me, that’s through volunteering in their graduate recruitment campaigns and coordinating a firm-wide disability event with a fellow colleague for Comic Relief, raising over £4,000.
James has since left EY and now works at Citi.
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