Lisa’s Workable Experience

lisa fLisa had worked as a Care Support Worker with Oaklee Housing for six years but due to deterioration in her sight, she was having difficulty in carrying out the duties of her role effectively. As a result, Lisa was redeployed to an Administrative Assistant role at Oaklee’s Head Office premises. She was referred onto the Workable NI programme for support and mentoring during this redeployment phase.

‘Having no IT or admin related skills, I was concerned about moving into a new area of work. I was worried about not being suitable for the post and knew that I needed a lot of training if I was to succeed.’

Under the Workable NI programme, the RNIB Employment Officer, Chris Yung, provided weekly job coaching to Lisa at her place of work and provided specialist magnification software called ‘ZoomText’ for the computer Lisa was to use in her new place of work. This allowed her to see the information on the computer screen at the right size for her eye condition. He then arranged for an RNIB Technology Officer to train Lisa in how to use the software and also in how to use the standard Microsoft Office packages required to do the job such as Microsoft Excel, Outlook Express, Internet Explorer and the organisation’s bespoke database. Chris also worked with Lisa’s employer to agree reasonable adjustments that could be put in place in relation to working hours, colour coding of printed material within the office environment and the layout of the work place.

Having been on the Workable NI programme for just under a year Lisa is now almost fully proficient in all aspects of her role as an Administrative Assistant but in addition to this, she is really quite developed in relation to her IT competency. Lisa continues to receive mentoring and training through Workable NI and has part completed a BTEC IT Users Qualification (ITQ) and as a result her confidence has really grown.

Lisa says that: “….without the support of RNIB and the Workable NI programme I really think that I would be unemployed right now. Workable NI has allowed me to be trained to use IT in my new job when, a year ago, I couldn’t even turn a computer on! Now I am in a job that I love and I’m really keen to learn more skills. RNIB are mentoring me towards full completion of my BTEC IT Users Certificate so I am feeling extremely positive about my future.”

In October 2013 Lisa spoke to members of the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Employment and Learning Committee at Stormont as a ‘witness’ outlining the positive experience that being on the Workable NI programme has been for her.