A wheelchair using teenager with cerebral palsy has launched an online job hunting campaign with the tongue-in-cheek catchline: “Transport not a problem”.
Iesha Manns, 17, from Poole, decided to take the more direct approach after applying for 20 part-time jobs without luck.
She said:”I appreciate that my disability means I am not suitable for some jobs and maybe my chair is even putting some employers off.
“But I’m confident there are jobs out there I can do and do well and that’s why I decided to advertise myself online to show I could be an asset, rather than a hindrance to a business.”
Iesha has applied for a variety of jobs in shops, at a library and in hospital admin, but all without luck.
She continued: “I’ll quite often receive an email saying I’m being considered, but then I’ll get the dreaded question in the next questionnaire: “Do you consider yourself to have a disability?”
“And of course, as soon as I tick the ‘yes’ box it’s game over, that’s the end of that.
“The worst part is I don’t even get a chance to give them a proper impression of me because my chair scares people away, it’s all too much hassle and a health and safety overload!”
Iesha has turned to Facebook and her online blog in her hunt for work.
She said: “I’m sending my CV absolutely everywhere and using my blog to ask people to spread the word that I’m available for work.
“Obviously I can’t run about or shoot up and down stairs. But I am great with computers, I’m a natural with people and growing up with cerebral palsy means I have had to work very hard to be independent.
“Plus, as my blog says: transport is definitely not a problem!”
Iesha is ideally looking for an admin job, or one working in a box office or ticket office, or on reception at a leisure centre. But she says she is: “open to all opportunities.”
The teen is currently studying health and social care at The Bournemouth and Poole College.
She also has two voluntary jobs, at a children’s road safety charity called Streetwise and at Victoria Education Centre, where she works with children with special needs to try and give them the best and most independent lifestyle possible.
And she is also taking a First Aid course.
She said: “I come from a family of strong women with a very strong work ethic. My mum works as a travel consultant and also organises charity events and my great aunt and godmother own the Marsham Court and Ramada Encore Hotels in Bournemouth.
“My great aunt Jennie Deavin has been a hotelier for 45 years and is now in a wheelchair because of cancer. But she tells me “You’re a clever girl Iesha – if you want something, go for it.
“She would love to give me a job, but the hotel is not completely accessible – and anyway, I want to show her and everyone that I can do this for myself.”
Iesha’s mum Karen Francis, said: “Iesha has never let her disability get in her way and I’m proud she is so determined.
“She wants a part time job for the same reason any other 17 year old wants one – so she can go out with her friends, buy nice make up and clothes and to save for holidays.”
Iesha added: “I could send out head and shoulders shots with my CV and just ‘forget’ to mention I have a disability. But when I rock up in a wheelchair things are going to be pretty awkward!
“I’m putting myself and my wheelchair ‘out there’ because I want someone to give me a job I can do well, not because they feel sorry for me.
“And who’s to say my wheelchair can’t be a bonus? – I am pretty fast in this thing!”
Read Iesha’s blog for more information https://ieshalouiseblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/19/me-my-chair-are-never-apart-thats-the-issue-i-seem-to-have-with-employment/.
Please help Iesha’s plea for employment by sharing her blog, and if you have any information which may be of help please email her on Iesha.firstname.lastname@example.org.