Finding a job is challenging for everyone; when you have a disability this challenge can become even greater as you take into account considerations such as telling an employer about your disability and requesting adjustments.
Disabilities can be visible or non-visible and include, but are not limited to, conditions such as visual and hearing impairments, mobility impairments, Asperger's Syndrome, diabetes, epilepsy, dyslexia, dyspraxia, mental health conditions, speech impairments and major illnesses such as cancer and MS.
As a disability consultant with extensive experience of working with both employers who are looking to employ disabled individuals and disabled students, Helen can share practical advice and guidance with 6th form, college or university students who are considering entering the workplace. She can go through how they can successfully progress through the steps of applying for jobs and preparing for interviews, detailing the approach of many employers to disability, particularly in the investment banking, legal and consultancy sectors.
Having first-hand experience of disability, being a wheel chair user herself, as a result of a childhood spinal injury Helen can speak about her own personal journey, from education through to being a business person and managing her disability in the workplace.
As a firm believer that having a disability or long-term health condition challenges you to develop unique strengths and talents, which are valuable to employers, Helen can share many inspirational stories of disabled individuals who have turned their disability into strengths and are managing their disability successfully in their workplace - with many excelling in their chosen professions. Having a disability or long-term health condition shouldn't prevent anyone from having the career that they want to have.
Helen heads up a company, MyPlus, who work with Times 100 organisations helping them realise the opportunity of hiring talented people with disabilities. Helen is also behind MyPlus Students’ Club, an innovative website which provides students with disabilities or long-term health conditions, advice, support and when applying for jobs. Helen has worked extensively with other disabled individuals. The majority of this experience comes from her involvement with The Back Up Trust, an organisation which supports spinally injured individuals. Helen is a mentor for the Back Up mentoring programme and became a Trustee in 2016.
Helen can provide an inspiring presentation which draws on her own work experience as a disabled individual, her work with employers and stories of disabled individuals which will really inspire and give confidence to any disabled students.
"I have worked with Helen for several years and I have found her helpful, informative, approachable and very professional. I have sought advice and information from Helen on a number of topics relating to the job search for disabled students and those with long term health conditions. Also, Helen has delivered a number of workshops on campus covering topics relating to the job search and the feedback from students has been very positive. I would recommend Helen as someone to partner and work with for the benefit of students."– Ray Harte, Careers Consultant, Kingston University
"I recently attended the OPEN 2016 event that was organised and was run by Helen Cooke for students with disabilities. The event was such a worthwhile experience, made so by Helen’s powerfully engaging and informative nature of speaking. After attending, I felt that I had gained useful and extensive knowledge from Helen’s presentation. She is able to deliver information in a way that is easy and clear to understand."– Abigail Fearns, University Student
"I attended OPEN and 'Getting In' when I was considering career options as an undergraduate. Helen spoke at events for both sessions; her talks focused on the practicalities of obtaining a training contract with a disability, were always to-the-point and every sentence was carefully thought out and offered important information. Helen was also a very engaging speaker, who knew how to keep the audience entertained and engaged both in the talks she gave and the panels of professionals with disabilities she facilitated. I left both events feeling a lot more knowledgeable about life in law and banking with a disability, as well as entertained"– Jonathan Andrews, Trainee Solicitor, Reed Smith
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