How did you get started in your career and what drew you to Lloyds Banking Group?
I initially looked for finance jobs and was applying to a range of big organisations to find a summer placement between my 2nd and 3rd year of university. I cannot say I had a clear plan of my career except for wanting to save whilst earning a decent income to become independent. However, since starting work I have been able to decide the direction of my future career path.
My university careers service suggested Lloyds, who were just one of the organisations I applied for. I liked the look of the opportunities the Group offered and the fact that I could remain in Bristol, as location was important to me. Their response to my disability (Im blind) and offer of support is what sold the Group to me! They made it clear that my ability mattered, not my disability.
How do you manage your disability at work?
As an intern I attended our Personal Development Programme for disabled colleagues. This taught me some key skills about how to manage my impairment better in the workplace, but also showed me how committed Lloyds was to me as an individual as well as to other disabled colleagues. My lasting memory is being on the train home and feeling simply on top of the world! As well as this my team are extremely flexible. I work in the office or at home dependent on my own personal needs and am able to adjust this accordingly. My hours arent fixed any given week however I usually work 9 days over the course of a fortnight. I am also able to start and finish early suiting my most productive working time frame and it means I can dodge the traffic.
How has your employer helped you to do well at your workplace?
Throughout the graduate scheme I had some truly amazing managers who all supported me in different ways and always knew where I was on my development journey. I lacked confidence to do new things so was gradually encouraged and supported to step out of my comfort zone. I recognise now that everyone gets nervous and I have achieved my ambitions with continued support with my confidence continuing to grow over the past 3 years at LBG.
What advice or top tips would you offer?
You will discover the amazing people who work here, who value you for who you are regardless of disability, sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity or religion and genuinely want to make a difference in and out of work.
What has been your proudest moment since starting work?
My single biggest achievement has been realising how independent I have become. It still amazes me I can live alone and travel all over the country with just my guide dog and I. This was something that scared me so much when I first joined and would never have imagined being able to do this when I was still at school. Anything is possible and you can definitely be your own main barrier to success.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I have now got a clearer idea of my future career and what is means to be an expert in the disability field. Specialising is a choice and suits me and my style. I aim to become a manager in my team and further ahead either working in broader inclusion or externally to Lloyds as a disability consultant to benefit a wider community of organisations and disabled people.