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Tackling Barriers for Disabled Apprentices: Corrins speech

The highlight of our Tackling Barriers for Disabled Apprentices event was this speech by our own apprentice, Corrin McLelland, who gave a passionate account of her journey and the difference her apprenticeship has made to her outlook on life, confidence and ambitions

I’ve started working with Disability Rights UK as an intern from April till July 2014. On my first day here I was learning a lot about what does the charity do and how the organisation helps people with disabilities. After the internship was over I was offered an apprenticeship back here after Christmas, which involved going to work 4 days a week and going to college one day a week to get a qualification.

Before I came to Disability Rights UK I was applying for many jobs, but unfortunately the jobs I applied for wanted someone who had more experience and I didn’t had that much. I would be annoyed about it some of the time and some I wasn’t because I’ve heard it all before and I knew that I wasn’t going to get the job, most of the time after applying I kept saying to myself over and over again how I wanted to go back to school and redo my GSCE maths and English to improve my grades and to improve my CV more.

Since I’ve started this apprenticeship I’m learning more about the organisation and what do they do through some publication on how they can help people with disabilities. I have now the chance to improve my maths and English through my qualification, I’m studying at the moment at City and Islington College.

The difficulty I have is a speech and languages problem. For example I have problems understanding things like when I was little and if it was a raining day people would say to me “it’s raining cats and dogs” and I wouldn’t understand what they were talking about or if I was asked put to the kettle on, I will go and put the kettle, when it really mean is make me a cup of coffee.

I did have some problem with pronunciation, not saying the right word or not understanding what things means and today when I’m in a conversation with a group of people and I don’t know what they are talking about I will still join in the conversation. During my education my speech and languages difficulty did affect my ability to learn while I in school which made me lose some confidence and made me had a learning difficulty on the side. At school I had a speech and languages therapist who would help me to understand more, pronounce properly and sometimes help me with my school work.

When I turned 16, I wanted to leave school so badly and not take my GSCE, because I didn’t do well in school and with my GCSE coming up I knew I wasn’t gonna do well with my grades either. But my parents encourage me to do it and told me just do the best that I can, once I’ve finished my GSCE and left school I got results back I wasn’t happy with the result that I got but then I wasn’t that bothered about it anymore because I knew I wasn’t gonna get any A’s, B’s or C’s and that I was so happy to leave school and start a new chapter in my life with college.  

After I’ve left school I did do some volunteer and do some work experience with friends and family, my first paid job was posting flyers from door to door all around surrey, it was boring job some of the time but I did get paid a lot of money and had my sister help to get the job even when I was a nightmare working for her sometime. For years not being a student at university or collage and not having a job, I’ve been trying to sort my life what is it that I wanted to do for a living, how am I going to do it and most of all will I enjoy it.

Working at Disability Rights UK has been most helpful with my disability, has giving me the chance to have some experience and a reason to wake up in the morning. Being an apprentice has been the best thing that ever happen to me not only because I’m working but I’m back at school again learning maths and English all over and taking it the lesson seriously, I honestly can’t stop thank Danny and Philip enough for giving me this opportunity and for their support and I’m hoping to continue with my apprenticeship and who know where I could end up in the end. My mum has always said to me and I think I should shall this to everyone and to myself

“Being smart is not about knowing things, it’s about what you can do”. Thank you