My name is Jessica Errington and I joined Enterprise’s Graduate Management Training Programme after graduating from the University of Winchester with a degree in Sociology.
I discovered I had Dyslexia and Dyspraxia within my first month of attending university. I had struggled extensively throughout my education, one of my first memories of realising something was wrong was my inability to tell the time whilst at primary school.
I received outstanding grades in my A-Level course work-based assessments, achieving A’s. However, when it came to sitting exams, I would get E’s. I knew I had to seek advice and eventually I undertook an assessment that diagnosed my condition as dyslexia and dyspraxia.
My day-to-day practices at work are not always affected by my disability, however, because I felt comfortable to disclose my diagnosis with my colleagues, I have the relationship with my managers which means they will alter tasks should they pose a difficulty for me. My manager and I set monthly one-to-one meetings which are designed solely to discuss my progress and overall experience of the job. This is highly valued by someone like myself as it is purely to discuss my individual experience and any of my goals for the upcoming month ahead.
My diagnosis was somewhat empowering, I was able to separate my ability and intelligence from my practical motor skills. I’ve actually developed some strengths because of my disability and these have helped me in the workplace. My disability means that I really struggle with remembering basic practices or dates that are often essential to my role, because of this knowledge I can over-compensate, and I’ve actually been commended for my organisational skills. Also, as a person with dyspraxia whilst it’s common to struggle with motor skills and communication on paper, I have found that I am a confident public speaker, something many individuals, with no disability, can struggle with.
Upon starting my career, I was really anxious that without disclosure of my disability, I would just appear slow or incompetent, however, very early on in my interview process I was offered the opportunity to disclose and talk about the ways I adjust things to allow me to excel. I would always disclose my disability now. In doing so, I went on to join Enterprise’s Disability and Inclusion committee where I alongside others, use my experience to educate and better our work environment. Years ago, sharing that you had an invisible disability was fully taboo but now it is celebrated. Often individuals with disabilities excel in certain areas that separate them quite significantly. We need to normalise the term ‘learning difference’ rather than learning difficulties, we do not have trouble, we just learn differently.
Many organisations are committed to providing every employee with an inclusive workplace that offers the respect, training and opportunities to succeed – whatever your circumstances. So don’t let anything hold you back from applying.