A wheelchair-bound teenager with cerebral palsy has launched an online job-hunting campaign with the tongue-in-cheek catchphrase “transport not a problem”
Iesha Manns, 17, from Poole, decided to take the more direct approach after applying for 20 part-time jobs without luck.
She said: “I appreciate that my disability means I am not suitable for some jobs, and maybe my chair is even putting some employers off. But I’m confident there are jobs out there I can do – and do well – and that’s why I decided to advertise myself online to show I could be an asset, rather than a hindrance, to a business.”
Iesha has applied for a variety of jobs in shops, at a library and in hospital admin, but all without luck.
She continued: “I’ll quite often receive an email saying I’m being considered, but then I’ll get the dreaded question in the next questionnaire: ‘Do you consider yourself to have a disability?’ And of course, as soon as I tick the ‘yes’ box, it’s game over, that’s the end of that.
“The worst part is I don’t even get a chance to give them a proper impression of me because my chair scares people away; it’s all too much hassle and a health and safety overload!”
Iesha has turned to Facebook and her online blog www.ieshalouiseblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/19/me-my-chair-are-never-apart-thats-the-issue-i-seem-to-have-with-employment/ in her hunt for work.
She continued: “I’m sending my CV absolutely everywhere and using my blog to ask people to spread the word that I’m available for work.
“Obviously, I can’t run about or shoot up and down stairs. But I am great with computers, I’m a natural with people, and growing up with cerebral palsy means I have had to work very hard to be independent. Plus, as my blog says: transport is definitely not a problem!”
Iesha is ideally looking for an admin job, or one working in a box office or ticket office, or on the reception at a leisure centre. But she says she is open to all opportunities.
The teen is currently studying health and social care at The Bournemouth and Poole College. She also has two voluntary jobs, at a children’s road safety charity called Streetwise, and at Victoria Education Centre, where she works with children with special needs to try to help them achieve the best and most independent lifestyle possible. She is also taking a First Aid course.
Iesha also mentioned: “I come from a family of strong women with a very strong work ethic. My mum works as a travel consultant and also organises charity events, and my great-aunt and godmother own the Marsham Court and Ramada Encore Hotels in Bournemouth.
“My great-aunt Jennie Deavin has been a hotelier for 45 years and is now in a wheelchair because of cancer. She tells me, ‘You’re a clever girl Iesha – if you want something, go for it.’ She would love to give me a job, but the hotel is not completely accessible – and anyway, I want to show her and everyone that I can do this for myself.”
Iesha’s mum, Karen Francis, said: “Iesha has never let her disability get in her way and I’m proud she is so determined. She wants a part time job for the same reason any other 17-year-old wants one: so she can go out with her friends, buy nice make up and clothes, and save for holidays.”
Iesha added: “I could send out head and shoulders shots with my CV and just ‘forget’ to mention I have a disability. But when I rock up in a wheelchair, things are going to be pretty awkward!
“I’m putting myself and my wheelchair ‘out there’ because I want someone to give me a job I can do well, not because they feel sorry for me.
“And who’s to say my wheelchair can’t be a bonus? – I am pretty fast in this thing!”
Visit Iesha’s blog at the above address, or find her on Facebook, to find out more about the go-getter girl with gumption.