Back Up Impact Report 2021: Chris’s story

Read on for Chris’s story, featured in our 2021 impact report. After attending our Skills for Work course, Chris’s mindset shifted to now understanding that he has something to offer employers.

I have Guillain-Barré Syndrome. It’s a rare condition that affects your whole nervous system. 1500 people a year get it, but most can walk after six months. I only know one other person who has had long-term paralysis as a result.

I ran a business from 2005 to 2016 which altered wheelchairs for outdoor activities. When the company wound down, I struggled to get my direction back work-wise. I thought the Back Up to Work course could boost my confidence after a few years of unemployment. I was accepted onto the course in 2020, but it was cancelled due to coronavirus.

This year, I was offered a place on the virtual Skills for Work course. It was fantastic. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a virtual course, but I was impressed from day one. A portion was focussed on selling yourself, writing CVs, and cover letter preparation. More than anything, I learned how to become confident again, especially when talking to the other participants.

When you see a lack of confidence in someone else, you often also see their potential. You have to be able to turn this back on yourself, and realise that you have something to give too.

The course has made me feel much more confident, and happier to approach employers

It came at the right time for me and it was great to have something to focus on during the pandemic. I was really impressed by how Back Up picked the speakers for this course and the effort they put into tailoring the course around people’s needs. I spoke to an engineering recruiter, perfect for my background.

Since the course, I’ve signed up to become a STEM ambassador to motivate young people into engineering. I’m also doing some consultancy work with some specialist adaptive sport equipment providers. My mindset has shifted from being negative about returning to work, to realising I have something to offer.

Check out our full impact report and discover how we transform lives affected by spinal cord injury.