#DisabilityWorks: Nina back at work after surgery

Nina Cooper, legal cashier at Taylor&Emmett LLP Solicitors with HR manager Sharna Poxon. Picture: Andrew Roe
Nina Cooper, legal cashier at Taylor&Emmett LLP Solicitors with HR manager Sharna Poxon. Picture: Andrew Roe

TAYLOR&EMMET HELPS NINA BACK INTO WORK AFTER SURGERY

The #DisabilityWorks campaign aims to show the benefits of employing disabled talent, for tailored recruitment support: Click this link Or call 0114 2760039.

Major back surgery could have spelled the end of Nina Cooper’s career but support from her employer helped her return to job she loves.

Nina, aged 46, has worked at Sheffield law firm Taylor&Emmet for 20 years and her experience in the fast-paced, high risk world of money transfers makes her ‘invaluable’.

But spinal surgery a year ago required a long recovery and the investment of time and money to ensure she could not only return to her old job but do it to the same standard.

Prior to the operation pain in her back was so severe she needed hot water bottles when sitting, couldn’t carry a tea tray, reach up for files or stand up very well. But despite this discomfort, she continued to work until her operation.

Nina Cooper, legal cashier at Taylor&Emmett LLP Solicitors. Picture: Andrew Roe

Nina Cooper, legal cashier at Taylor&Emmett LLP Solicitors. Picture: Andrew Roe

As a legal cashier, she is a vital member of the accounts department, and has to have the utmost focus when handling clients’ money.

Following surgery she was keen to get back into action but now had new needs. The firm carried out research to establish how the office could be adapted to ensure her short-term recuperation and long-term remission.

Facilities manager Lee Stacey, reorganised the accounts department and sourced a more suitable desk. He also liaised with colleagues who were affected by the change to their environment. And despite Nina having a love for her old chair, the firm paid for a made-to-measure one which she now describes as “amazing”.

Nina said: “There was never any question of hiding my disability before or after my operation as I was unable to straighten up and moaned a lot!

Sharna Poxon, of Taylor&Emmett LLP Solicitors. Picture: Andrew Roe

Sharna Poxon, of Taylor&Emmett LLP Solicitors. Picture: Andrew Roe

“Everyone, across all departments at Taylor&Emmet, was warm and welcoming and I never once felt discouraged from continuing in my role.

“Clearly, we all work to pay the bills, but the people I am surrounded by make the job worthwhile. I am enjoying being back at the firm and looking forward to a pain free retirement.”

The #DisabilityWorks campaign aims to show the benefits of employing disabled talent, for tailored recruitment support: Click this link Or call 0114 2760039.

n Sharna Poxon, head of human resources at Sheffield solicitors, Taylor & Emmet LLP, examines the costs, adaptations and effort involved in employing disabled people.

Danielle Reilly

Danielle Reilly

“We employ a number of staff with recognised disabilities, along with some who need support, but fall outside the legal definition. Regardless, we believe all employees possess the knowledge, skills and capabilities to work within our organisation. Taylor & Emmet always tries to support individuals and make adjustments to surroundings or practices, where possible, that will enable everyone to thrive and enjoy career success.

“Our premises are accessible to all and include lifts, easy-to-open doors, disabled toilets and induction loops on reception, so no costly physical adaptations have been necessary.

“We have, however, accommodated our disabled employees by making other alterations, such as changes to working hours, roles and contracts, revisions to internal procedures and minor adaptations in the office, such as seating and lighting.

“Facilities manager Lee Stacey ensures our environment supports the needs of everyone, including clients, visitors and contractors. Not only does he make it safe, but Lee also collaborates closely with me to find practical, cost-effective solutions for individuals that are of real benefit.”

The #DisabilityWorks campaign aims to show the benefits of employing disabled talent, for tailored recruitment support: Click this link Or call 0114 2760039.

Determined Danielle staying loyal to Capita

Leigh Bramall Deputy Leader for Sheffield City Council and cabinet member

Leigh Bramall Deputy Leader for Sheffield City Council and cabinet member

Danielle Reilly, who works at Capita Sheffield, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2011 and has struggled with severe pain and fatigue.

She has some advice for any disabled people wishing to work: ‘Don’t give up on work and your dreams – find a job that you can do whatever disability you have’.

She added: “I have worked at Capita for six years and they have been very supportive. Due to the extreme fatigue and pain I feel I have reduced my hours, which has really helped me in my working life and allowed me to work efficiently and comfortably.

“Capita has been great, they’ve also allowed adjustments to my working day meaning I can take frequent breaks to help my fatigue.

“Given my positive experience here, I would push all employers to take on people with disabilities. Disabled people are more passionate and more determined due to their limitations!”

By embracing Danielle’s disability and making the necessary changes the Capita Sheffield Partnership retained a loyal, determined and hardworking member of its team.

Paul Abraham, partnership director said: “When Danielle chose to move on for a different career she didn’t go too far – just another division of Capita.

“I hope the positive and flexible experience we gave her in the Partnership gave her confidence during some challenging times. Thanks to organisations like the DWP offering access to work help for those with disabilities we are able to retain valuable talent.”

n When Nicki Davies started working for Capita in 2009 as a housing benefits assessor, the firm wanted to ensure she was comfortable in her role and working environment.

Being profoundly deaf from birth, she often felt isolated and lonely. It is quite difficult for others to understand what she is trying to say, she says, and this has led people to avoid interaction.

Nicki said: “I can see people are becoming more aware that just because I am deaf and do not speak as clearly as other people it does not mean I am not interested or having nothing to say.

“I am grateful for the help and understanding that I have been shown and am pleased that more people seem to have an understanding of those who have impaired hearing.”

Team leader Sharon Young said: “In the short time I have been Nicki’s line manager I have had the opportunity to learn more about how her disability affects her and we have worked together towards improving her experience at work.

“For example, instead of relying on emails with Nicki, I will speak and listen to her in person and I have noticed others doing the same.”

Paul Abraham said they wanted to support her in every way they could.

He added: “We understand that employers can often find it hard to know how best to support colleagues with hearing impairments.

“But it is important to remember that interventions can be simple but make a massive impact on employees’ well-being.”

The #DisabilityWorks campaign aims to show the benefits of employing disabled talent, for tailored recruitment support: Click this link Or call 0114 2760039.

Sheffield City Council is opening doors for disabled people

Our new campaign, Opportunity Sheffield – #DisabilityWorks – aims to ensure all businesses understand the benefits employees with disabilities can bring, as well as the help and support, available, writes Coun Leigh Bramall, deputy leader and cabinet member for business and economy.

“We are committed to making sure Sheffield is the fairest city in Britain. It is vital for the prosperity of the city that everyone has a chance to access sustainable, good-quality and fulfilling employment.

“We want to make sure that businesses feel confident in opening up any opportunities to people with disabilities.

“Taking on people with disabilities certainly works for Willmott Dixon, so in their own words: ‘if it can work here, it can work anywhere’.

“Willmott Dixon is one of the biggest construction and property organisations in the UK, and is one of a number of employers that we’ve been working with at Sheffield City Council to showcase how businesses can be confident in offering jobs to people with disabilities.

For the past 10 years, it has run an Opening Doors programme with the aim of providing employment opportunities to people with disabilities. For the company, working with people with disabilities has been a really rewarding process.

“They have had to make some small changes such as adapting a workstation, but the rewards for the company have more than overridden any of these one-off costs. The people with disabilities who they have taken on have all relished the opportunity given to them and gone on to be ambitious and successful.”

The #DisabilityWorks campaign aims to show the benefits of employing disabled talent, for tailored recruitment support: Click this link Or call 0114 2760039.