After being forced to resign from her previous job due to her physical disability, Jo Bowyer is now working again and saving for a well-earned holiday abroad thanks to her new employer OCS and the Shaw Trust’s Work Choice programme.
Bowyer, 33, has hemiplegia – muscular weakness on one side of the body. Two years ago, she felt that she had no choice but to resign, thanks to a lack of support and understanding from her previous employer. Her confidence was at an all-time low and she was worried she might never work again.
After being out of work for six months, Bowyer was referred to the Shaw Trust’s Work Choice programme, a government-supported employment programme designed for people who may find it difficult to find or keep a job due to their disability.
She was assigned a Work Choice adviser who worked with her to improve her self-esteem and to increase her employability skills. She learned important job search techniques and application writing and interview skills.
After several applications, Bowyer was delighted to accept OCS’s offer of a cleaning operative position at the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) headquarters in Taunton. She has been employed with the OCS team at UKHO for more than 16 months.
OCS has worked with Bowyer to adjust her work schedule to ensure that she can cope, and Shaw Trust bought her a cordless vacuum to make work easier. She recently passed her first unannounced quality audit with flying colours.
Bowyer said: “I really enjoy work now and my employers are very supportive. I’ve moved into a house with my partner and we’re thinking about having a family. We’re also going on holiday abroad this year. We wouldn’t be able to do any of this if I wasn’t working.”
John Carr, contract manager at OCS, said: “Jo is a very hard working employee and Shaw Trust has been really supportive in helping us adapt our workplace. She has been employed with our OCS team at UKHO for 16 months now and it has been quite a journey for her to gain the confidence to cope in the working environment. OCS is an equal opportunities employer. Diversity in work demands diversity in our workforce. As such, we adhere to an equal opportunities policy and work with the Employers Forum for Disability to make sure we get the very best people from all walks of life.”