Michael is a 22 year old wheelchair user currently studying Finance at Canterbury Christ Church University. He has been working with Whizz-Kidz to find work experience that will help further his career after he graduates.
My name is Michael and I have a passion for music, finance and technology. I also have an entrepreneurial spirit. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at University so far but I am aware that I need to start thinking about my future after graduation.
I really enjoy what I study and I have always known that I want to work for a firm in the financial service industry, but one of the things I have struggled with, is knowing which role I wanted to pursue. This is why my work experience opportunities with Whizz-Kidz have been great as I have had the chance to work in different fields across the finance industry and they have all given me a taster of what could be to come.
Over the last few months I have been fortunate enough to gain some experience in some of the most successful global institutions, from EY to Colombia Threadneedle to Ed Broking. Working in different roles within these companies has taught me so much on both a business and a personal level. They helped me learn what I like and don’t like, what my best skills are as well as what needs improving.
I was nervous about my future after University. There are always articles and posts flying around about graduates struggling to find work even after getting their first degree and sometimes even their Masters, and we all know employability statistics are even worse for those who are classified as disabled. This is one of the reasons why I knew I had to make gaining some work experience a priority and I can genuinely say that these work experience opportunities have helped me feel a bit more prepared about the future and entering employment after I graduate.
When I walked into my first placement I must admit that I was quite nervous. I had previously worked at another bank because of a work placement that someone I knew from church had helped me organise. However, at that placement I chose not to bring my chair as I didn’t want to feel like I was inconveniencing the staff. For my placements with Whizz-Kidz, I always had my chair so I was curious about how my experiences would differ. Nevertheless, as time went on and my confidence grew I began to enjoy myself and make the most of this opportunity. Across all the firms, my time went pretty smoothly. There were no major accessibility issues. There were some smaller issues such as pushing through heavy doors and parking, but help was always offered once I made my colleagues aware. Some firms were more accommodating than others in different ways. Whilst I was at EY, someone took me out for lunch every day. At Ed Broking, there was always someone bringing me coffee. But I was generally left to get on with my tasks myself which I liked as it encouraged me to be independent and this is what I am used to.
Overall I am extremely grateful for these work experience opportunities. The competition for graduates is very high as we all know, and getting these work experience placements will really help my CV.
Finding a job can be tough for graduates. It is even harder for young wheelchair users due to the lack of opportunities out there. I was very nervous about my future after University but I knew I had to make gaining some work experience a priority if I want to find employment after graduating. Thanks to support from Whizz-Kidz, my recent placements in the finance industry have given me invaluable training and skills that I can take with me when I go to employers. My confidence has grown so much and I now feel so much more prepared for the future.