Joe’s story: Back to Work Careers Fair

Joe, a wheelchair user who we supported with our ?Back To Work Careers Fair

Meet Joe: 

  • Sustained a spinal cord injury while working as a riding instructor 
  • Rebuilt his confidence and discovered new possibilities at a Back Up careers fair  
  • An avid baker, Joe once applied to compete in the Great British Bake Off!  

For a lot of people, work can be an essential part of living well. It can provide challenge, socialization, and a sense of purpose. However, for people affected by spinal cord injury, work can be a tricky topic to navigate.

In Joe’s case, spinal cord injury interrupted his career and knocked his confidence. While working at a summer camp in America he was involved in a horse riding accident, resulting in a complete spinal cord injury. The impact of this was life-changing.

“At first I just couldn’t believe what happened. My first thoughts were ‘how am I going to live my life?’

“I was very ill for a while. I spent ten months in America before returning to England, where I needed to stay in a hotel for three months as my parent’s home was not accessible. I barely had the time to think about my employment future because of all the other things I was worrying about.”

As time went on, Joe began considering a return to work. However, he was still dealing with low self-confidence as a result of his injury. This made job hunting much more difficult.

“I had a few opportunities after my injury, but I struggled at the interview stage. This gave me another knock to my confidence – it made me wonder if work would be the right thing for me at all.”

Fortunately, Back Up was there to help Joe boost his confidence and return to the world of work. We were there to support him via our Back to Work Careers Fair. As part of our returning to work service, we run this fair to help ensure everyone affected by spinal cord injury can thrive in the workplace.

At our careers fair, attendees have the chance to get tailored support to help reach their career goals. This includes personalized CV clinics, mock interviews, panel discussions on work-related topics, as well as the chance to meet recruiters.

For Joe, the best part of our Back to Work Careers Fair was having the chance to make new connections.

“It was great to be around people with lived experiences of working with a spinal cord injury. They showed me that my own lived experience can be valuable to employers, as well as how to disclose my disability to potential employers, so that the right adaptations could be made.

“It really helped me learn more about job-hunting. I would recommend to anyone who takes part in this service to bring along a notepad, and a CV for feedback!”

As a result, Joe is now back in work thanks to the connections he made through this service. He met his current workplace’s PR manager, who is also a wheelchair user as she was giving a talk at our Careers Fair and, with some support and advice from others, he secured an interview and got the job.

“I now work for accessible bathroom specialist Fine & Able. We get a lot of calls from newly injured people, and we help them create accessible bathrooms that don’t look clinical.

“I didn’t really know what to expect when I started working there, but it’s a joy to work with such lovely people, and being able to use my lived experience as a wheelchair user to help our customers create bathrooms that are stylish and user-friendly is really fulfilling for me.”

“Thanks to Back Up, I made the connections that were necessary for my new position! I would certainly recommend this service.”

We’re thrilled we were able to help Joe rediscover his confidence and get back to work after spinal cord injury. Visit our website to learn more about our employment services.