Posted 03.12.2020

Sarah Wright has gained paid employment with Advice Space, as an adviser with support from Job Match and her Supported Employment Officer Ruth Baxter. 

Sarah has been a volunteer advisor with Advice Space (formerly Citizens Advice Belfast) since 2017 and advises clients on issues such as social security, employment, housing, consumer, education, immigration and of course, COVID.

As a disabled person, Advice Space has been a phenomenal place to volunteer, and staff have always treated me with dignity and respect. I never felt stigmatized for having disabilities, claiming social security benefits or requiring reasonable adjustments. I am part of an empathetic team which cares deeply about the clients we support and is proactive about training staff and volunteers to provide high quality, compassionate advice.

Sarah’s disabilities and health conditions are now more manageable and, having had a chance to test the waters as a volunteer, was keen to apply for a paid advisor role.

I had the expertise and the passion, but I needed some support. Through the Job Match programme, I was matched with Ruth who is a Supported Employment Officer. Ruth helped me with applying for the job, proof-reading my application form, considering reasonable adjustments I might need as a worker, preparing for the interview and adjusting to working from home. Due to COVID, I haven’t had the chance to meet Ruth in person, but I felt supported and prioritised throughout. I'm chuffed to say that I got the job, and I started a few weeks ago. 

I’m grateful to have been in a position to start a new job during the pandemic while so many others are facing redundancy, but hopefully I can now support and empower those clients to navigate their new circumstances and decide what’s best for them and their families.

Read more about Job Match and support it can provide for job seekers and employers.