Meet the Job Match Team - Michael Moore Hi, my name is Michael Moore and I would like to tell you a little about myself. I am currently an Employment Engagement Officer with Job Match, at Disability Action in Belfast. However, not too long ago I had a very different story to tell. I was lost in the world of unemployment. Every job I applied for, every interview I attended always ended with a strong and resounding NO. My Job Search Journey At the beginning of my job search journey I was fresh, excited and ready for the challenge ahead. But, after consistently finding myself at the end of rejection letters, I grew tired. I felt as though I was continually building a house of cards, only to watch someone come and kick it down. I continued in this cycle of application after application and interview after interview with no results. I had a strong CV, a solid and steady job history, excellent references, and wasn’t too bad at interviews, and yet still this wasn’t enough. I began to wonder why, and when I asked employers, the most I was ever given was vague feedback. The only thing that linked all of my rejections, was that employers seemed unsure and hesitant of working with someone like me. I was actually informed by a few employers that they just couldn’t make a job workable for me despite my skills. I contacted some members from Job Match at a local jobs fair. They helped me take control of my employment journey and helped me understand that the issue wasn’t me, provided help in applying for jobs and gave friendly support when needed. Many employers had never employed someone with my disability, some had never even met someone like me. Truthfully I think they were hesitant in employing me as they just honestly didn’t know how they could make it work. I needed to show employers that someone like me could be invaluable in the work place. I could offer new insight, ideas and education to the work force that others couldn’t. Instead of being worried about how employers would perceive me, I began to affirm to them why my difference made me the perfect candidate. I provided information and ideas as to how jobs could be adapted for myself and others, and through doing this I gained employment as a Campus Assistant at a local college. After working there for a short while, I applied and was successful in securing a role as an Employment Engagement officer at Disability Action in July 2018. I guess that being through the process has helped me empathise as to the difficulty of navigating the job market and I wanted to pay forward my experience and knowledge to others in a similar situation. My working day Through the course of a day as an Employment Engagement Officer, I continually check business trends, recruitment opportunities and meet with my Supported Employment colleagues to keep updated as to the needs of their caseloads. Employer contact involves working together with employers from all sectors. I build a partnership with them to learn more about their business, the roles they offer and to help them recruit and retain people with disabilities. I also discuss with employers how we can help: Positive action and recruitment planning, including ring fencing job roles Finding suitable candidates Making reasonable adjustments Personalised in-work support I also share with employers our 5 Step Guide, which provides a rich source of information on how to match the right people with the right job, achieving positive outcomes for everyone. Click here to take a look at the 5 Step Guide. Alternatively search for the #5stepguide on your social media channels. Message to employers As an employer, have you considered: Individuals on our project are actively looking for employment They are a rich untapped source of talent with a diverse range of skills and qualifications They enhance diversity and opens channels to a wider customer pool Increases disability awareness within your workforce Ensures you are an equal opportunity employer Disabled individuals problem solve on a continuing basis -something all employers look for I feel that employers appreciate being contacted by someone with a disability to discuss “all things disability”. I prepare and deliver employability workshops alongside employers to give advice to people enrolled on Job Match. This includes tips around job application, transferable skills and of course the interview itself. Those who have attended have provided feedback that by having employers present, it helps to build confidence, break down barriers and gives medium and large companies a “friendly face”. Job Satisfaction My role brings great reward in knowing I am helping to raise awareness of disabilities across employment sectors and that I have helped secure employment for some of the participants on the Job Match over the last year. I can’t say I have done this alone as we work as a really strong team. I cannot thank my colleagues enough for being excellent to work alongside and who were more than happy to help out when I had any questions. In addition to my role, I am also one of the Mental Health First Aiders at Disability action in Belfast and have joined the Disability Action Mental Health Charter Group to ensure commitment and a continued focus to the strategies and activities for the benefit of my colleagues at Disability Action. This is something I am passionate about, as every day stressors impact each and every one of us and if not careful, can impact on our mental health. Get in touch If you are someone who relates to my story and has struggled to find employment due to a recent or long term disability, I highly recommend you to get in contact with us at Job Match in Disability Action. We can help you put yourself forward to employers in a way that highlights your capabilities. Conversely, if you are an employer and you aren’t sure how to go about employing someone with a disability you can contact me directly. At Job Match we continually work with employers and employees to find the perfect role that will benefit both the company and the employee. Email: [email protected] Tel: 07970 226903 Read more about Job Match. If my story hasn’t been enough to convince you to get in touch, then this is where I bribe you by saying I might let you meet Dax, my trusty guide dog! Like the rest of the team Dax loves to help out, and breaks the ice, by starting the conversation about disability.