My name is Niall Irwin, 43 years young, and I suffered a major stroke in 2000 which resulted in a left sided weakness and major cognitive difficulties. Following extensive rehabilitation, I undertook a specialist employability programme with the Cedar Foundation which enabled me to gain IT qualifications and valuable work experience. I was also able to play a leading role in helping to improve service delivery as chairperson of Cedar’s User Forum
Through Workable (NI) I was supported to secure part-time employment in 2007 as a Clerical Officer within Cedar. Funding for this post ended in 2008, after which Cedar helped me to secure a full time post at the Gem call centre Belfast as Customer Services Agent. However, full-time work began to have an impact on my health and well-being and I reverted to part-time working.
Unfortunately, due to the economic downturn, I was made redundant in July 2010 and was unemployed for over 6 months. Cedar, again, helped me with job searching and in January 2011 I started with Tech Mahindra working in customer services for Orange home phone and broadband.
In all these positions Workable (NI) has enabled me to access the support I need to maintain my employment and develop in my job roles. I started my current role on a full-time basis but after a period of time I found that this was leading to high levels of stress and fatigue. My Workable support team helped me to negotiate a reduction to hours 30 per week which has benefitted me dramatically.
I really enjoy coming to work where I feel like a valued member of staff. The support I have received has helped me to consistently achieve and surpass targets set by the company which means I can secure a salary bonus each month. I travel to work independently, using my mobility scooter and the train, on a journey of 12 miles each way. Going to work each day and meeting different people means I feel respected and included within the community. My confidence levels have been raised letting me feel I can accomplish anything. Knowing that support is available through Workable (NI) means that I can call in the cavalry when I face issues at work which I cannot resolve or deal with.