#DisabilityWorks - grateful employees are driven and loyal

Director Arnie Singh in City Taxi's Don Valley call centre
Director Arnie Singh in City Taxi's Don Valley call centre
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TAXI FIRM IS DRIVING SUCCESS FOR DISABLED PEOPLE

The #DisabilityWorks campaign aims to show the benefits of employing disabled talent, for tailored recruitment support, go to: Click this link Or call 0114 2760039.

Sam Archer, a call centre supervisor at City Taxis

Sam Archer, a call centre supervisor at City Taxis

Working with disabled people has become an important part of a Sheffield taxi firm’s ethos after the success of one of its employees.

City Taxis is building on its work with Sam Archer, aged 33, a call centre supervisor who has cerebral palsy.

Sam, who lives at Southey Hill with his fiancée, grew up in Shirecliffe and left school at 16 to study computing at Parson Cross College, before working at a haulage company for seven years.

Ready for a new challenge he gave notice, but as someone who always ‘ticked the disability box’ on the form, he then found it very difficult to break back into another workplace.

He said: “After eight months out of work, my friend who was the daughter of Bob Turnbull, one of City’s founder directors, created an opening for me to try out a call centre role.

“It was initially just supposed to tide me over, but I quickly found it used my computer skills and customer service experience and I really enjoyed it.

“Ten years later, I’m still here, have passed all my call centre advisor qualifications and have been promoted to supervisor.”

Sam added: “I always suspected that when I ticked that disability box on forms, it counted against me.

Sam Archer, a call centre supervisor at City Taxis

Sam Archer, a call centre supervisor at City Taxis

“I am registered disabled and have a Motability car. Making modifications can be an issue for employers, but City have been very accommodating.

“I haven’t needed any special equipment – my keyboard and telephones are the same as everyone else’s – it’s the flexible way City have allowed me to work that has helped.

“For example, when it snows I can be bad on my feet and struggle to travel in. City gave me a homeworking kit so I can work from home. I just needed a handset and a laptop to work from home. I remember some bad winters back when I was a dispatcher and needed to be in the call centre before this level of technology was available, they actually picked me up in an escorted 4x4 vehicle to get me in!”

“I have always done my best work and being disabled has never hindered it. Any problems have always been sorted by the supportive management.

Dan Ryan receives his apprentice certificate from Sir Alex Ferguson

Dan Ryan receives his apprentice certificate from Sir Alex Ferguson

“I am in the office 46 hours a week. I work three 12 hour and one 11 hour shifts which suits me to have a three-day weekend.”

He added: “Able bodied or disabled, anyone can do this job and get on in life if you have the right attitude and work hard.

“Disabled people like me just need an opportunity – a chance not all employers are willing to give. If you have a good telephone manner, patience and a positive attitude, you will get on at City Taxis.”

City Taxis managing director Arnie Singh said homeworking was a great chance to reach the untapped potential of people with disabilities, who may find working in a normal office environment challenging.

The firm is supporting six employees who have declared a variety of physical and mental health issues, including Sam Archer, an employee with back problems who needs a specialist chair and a staff member with depression.

He added: “Our long term vision is to create opportunities for flexible working patterns and we feel people who suffer from mobility issues could be perfect for a call centre advisor role.”

Coun Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council,

Coun Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council,

The #DisabilityWorks campaign aims to show the benefits of employing disabled talent, for tailored recruitment support, go to: Click this link Or call 0114 2760039.

SIR ALEX IS UNITED IN PRAISE OF DAN RYAN

“I want to pay them back with the way I work and never let them down.”

Dan Ryan, who has cerebral palsy, can’t say how grateful he is to have a job at a University of Sheffield research centre - but he can show it.

The 20-year-old says he’s treated the same as anyone at the AMRC, where “everyone helps everyone else.”

And it this combination of having a job he loves and the no-fuss approach to helping him that has left him loyal to the core.

Dan, from Mosborough, is an administrator’s assistant based in the Factory of the Future, part of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Waverley, Rotherham.

His jobs include paying invoices, creating orders and ensuring travel insurance is up to date for the 500 staff.

He said: “I really love what I do. This is my first job and my employer has been really understanding when I need hospital appointments and things like that.

“I can’t thank them enough for the opportunity – everyone just treats me like a normal person.

“I want to pay them back with the way I work and never let them down. I want them to feel like they picked the right person.

“I also couldn’t do it without my mum, who drops me off and picks me up every day and works as well.”

Dan came through the AMRC Training Centre and received his business administration apprentice certificate in February from Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Manchester United legend has a long-standing interest in apprentices - having been one himself - and the AMRC.

Dan added: “It was overwhelming. He said, ‘Well done and keep doing what you’re doing and you will get there’. I said, ‘I’ve always looked up to you,’ even though I’m a massive Wednesday fan.

“You can’t let life get you down, you’ve got to drive forward. You only live once.”

Christine Ridgway, AMRC office manager, said they received no suitable applicants after advertising for a business administration apprentice. And then she saw Dan’s CV.

She added: “We met Dan at our training centre. He impressed us with his enthusiasm and his smile. He is always smiling, always upbeat- even when Sheffield Wednesday get beaten!

“The AMRC’s admin team took him on to do purchasing. He completed his apprenticeship course early this year and now does purchasing, payment invoices, travel insurance and car hire for the group. He is a very bright young man and is being trained in computer-aided design.

“We didn’t have to make many adjustments. He has a little support from social services and has fitted in really easily.

“He is a pleasure to have in the team and never whinges! He is always in a positive frame of mind, very fashion conscious.

“He has recently been promoted to clerical assistant so I reckon he will be spending his pay rise on more designer clothes!”

The #DisabilityWorks campaign aims to show the benefits of employing disabled talent, for tailored recruitment support, go to: Click this link Or call 0114 2760039.

£7m DISABILITY IN WORK TRIAL

Up to £7m will be spent on new services designed to help people in Sheffield City Region with health conditions and disabilities to return to or stay in work.

The region has been chosen to pioneer the Government’s Work and Health Innovation Fund.

Local Job Centre Plus and GP surgeries will run a trial to see how to improve access to musculoskeletal services and improve referrals between health and employment services.

It is being developed by NHS England, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Health, as part of a £70m four-year plan to test different ways to support people with a disability or long term condition to get in and stay in work.

Sir Steve Houghton, chair of the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority, said: “We want to grow our economy in a way which is inclusive and responsible and we are working with many local partners to achieve our ambitious goals.

“This pioneering trial will see local employment and health services working more closely together to explore ways to help prevent long-term sickness and help people to return to work.”

Michael Macdonnell, NHS England’s director of strategy, said: “There are 4.8m people of working age with a disability or long term condition who are out of work.

“We know that the right work can be good for health and wellbeing and support people to live happier and healthier lives, but first we need to understand how best to support people with health conditions and disabilities to return to or stay in work.”

The #DisabilityWorks campaign aims to show the benefits of employing disabled talent, for tailored recruitment support, go to: Click this link Or call 0114 2760039.