Employable Me is a documentary that follows the lives of people with a range of conditions, such as Tourette’s and autism, as they try to find a job. The warm, moving documentary encourages employers to take a more enlightened approach when recruiting new staff.
The aim of the show is to destigmatise disability and prove that having a neurological condition does not make a person unemployable. Each episode focuses on different people and their determination to find a job, despite suffering rejection and setbacks and with many hurdles along the way.
The first episode of series one featured 34-year-old Brett from County Durham, who had battled for eight years to find a job but had been unsuccessful every time. Brett is on the autism spectrum, has no qualifications and finds it difficult to talk to people. He was so keen to find work that some of the jobs he went after were unsuitable, such as a minicab driver, where he would need to interact continually with members of the public.
He had been turned down for literally hundreds of jobs. However, during the documentary an expert on autism uncovers Brett’s remarkable talents: it emerges he’s very good at thinking things out and seeing challenges in a different way. He understands computer systems – and this skill is finally put to good use when he manages to get his dream job at medical equipment company, Peacocks Medical Group, in Newcastle.
Although his interview doesn’t go particularly well, he initially gains work experience and shines in every task he is asked to complete. He shows a real knack for bug testing in systems and proves his true value to his employer by fixing a software glitch that nobody else has been able to solve.
He makes an emotional ‘thank-you’ speech to the other staff when he finally gets the job, leaving his colleagues – and viewers – in tears at his happy ending. Brett speaks at length to co-workers for the first time, by bravely writing and reading out a speech. He tells them that he has autism, adding, “There isn’t anything different about me – I just think differently.”
He even makes a light-hearted remark, describing his condition as one where the “unwritten rules of social communication” have eluded him. He says his new job has made him feel “accepted” and has fulfilled his dream of working and being part of a team. Brett concludes that the things he has learned at Peacocks Medical Group will genuinely last him a lifetime.
New approach to recruitment
Although not every story has a fairytale ending, Employable Me is an excellent series that highlights the problems faced by people with medical conditions when it comes to finding employment. It may make recruiters think twice and adopt a new approach to taking them on.
Conditions such as autism should not deter employers when recruiting new employees. In fact, in many cases, people such as Brett can be a real asset to a business.
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