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Ableism and work experience

I'm feeling hopeless.

 

For background, I've always wanted to work with animals. Especially at a zoo but honestly I'd be willing to take almost anything.

I also have a heap of disabilities.

 

I nearly got work experience at a vet surgery last year. I was super excited. Spent the whole month looking forward to it. Did the online OHS course. After they'd agreed (No point doing it before and ruining my chances), my school psychologist who'd set it up for me emailed them about necessary accommodations, including me visiting the practice and meeting someone before the work experience started.

They didn't respond. A day before work experience started, mum called to ask about the visit.

Apparently they were too busy to take on a work experience student and neglected to tell me until after I'd asked for accommodations.

 

I tried volunteering at a domestic animal shelter and made the mistake of showing up in person where they could see my cane. Apparently they had top many volunteers already. Maybe they did.

 

I nearly got some extra experience at the place I volunteer, but wasn't taken seriously and ended up being completely looked over.

 

I've been looking at work experience at a zoo/ wildlife park. 

One says that you have to be able bodied and enjoy talking to people to consider volunteering.

One says that you have to be able bodied and work the equivalent of a part time job without pay before they'll even think about letting you in.

 

There's one more place.

I can't email them because my email has my deadname on it and I want to use my real name. I only want them to find out that my preferred and legal names are different after they agree to let me work there because transphobia happens.

I can't call them because I can't speak over the phone.

If mum calls I'll sound immature and like I'm lacking agency, or think that I'm under 18.

If I show up in person they'll see my cane. The fact that I look small, young and female really doesn't help with that either in my experience.

 

I know that in jobs/ paid work you need reasonable accommodations.

But I don't think that there are those protections in volunteering.

And in the area I want to work, you literally can't get a job without a LOT volunteer experience.

So guess what?? Looks like I'm effectively shut out of the field I've wanted to work in since I was 6 years old because I fucking dared to be disabled.

 

It feels like I should give up but.. if I give up on that idk what I'll do with the rest of my life.

I'm already on edge with my mental health, I'm not going to do very well in a job I hate.

But being unemployed for my entire life because some arseholes can't be bothered setting up basic accommodations doesn't sit well with me.

Also being disabled is fucking expensive and I can't rely on my parents forever (unless of course medical discrimination or suicide kills me first) I don't trust the NDIS to do its job and help me survive it because I've dealt with them before.

 

I'm feeling lost and angry and hopeless.

Re: Ableism and work experience

@Tiny_leaf  I'm so sorry you've gone through those experiences. Smiley Sad They sound so frustrating and disappointing. It made me really angry reading about the ones who said you had to be able-bodied to volunteer... Who says that?!
Employers can be so dodgy when it comes to work for people with disabilities. I've been asked some inappropriate questions in job interviews, like how my conditions will affect me working there or if there is history of condition X in my family because they thought that I had it just by looking at me. Once, an organisation completely wasted my time by posting an ad about a job in which they said the role would be suitable for people with disabilities and they would be welcome to apply, but then when I asked them a question in the interview, they described work that someone with my condition and many people with disabilities would struggle to do that they had decided to conveniently omit from the job description and ad. I just told them I had a medical condition that would make that particular aspect of the role hard and possibly dangerous, and they just said 'Oh' and did not offer any kind of solution or accommodation. I knew I wasn't going to get the job after that.

Re: Ableism and work experience

Hey @Tiny_leaf

It's so unacceptable that you haven't been able to work/volunteer in your field of choice, particularly when you worked so hard to meet their requirements, and alert them of the accomodations that you've needed. 

 

It might be worth taking a look at organisations who are more accommodating for those who have disabilities. I think you've mentioned in the past that you've ridden and worked with horses in the past, so it might be worth looking at the group called Riding With Disabilities. They have a couple of locations in WA, and work to help people with disabilities learn how to ride, and develop other skills. As you're someone who has experience with both horses and a lived experience as a person with disabilities, I am sure they would consider your experience invaluable Smiley Happy 

It might be worth making a new email address, even if it's to just start slowly transitioning more and more aspects of your life to something that better reflects you. Even aside from job/volunteer applications, I am sure it would feel more comforting to not have to see your deadname on a regular basis. There are a lot of ways to forward emails that are directed to your old address to your new one to help make the transition easier. 

Re: Ableism and work experience

@WheresMySquishy I'm so sorry about that..

 

@Andrea-RO that's a good idea but might be a bit awkward because I'm one of the disabled people they work with. (It'd be hard to do both)

 

I might look into the thing about the email address though.

Re: Ableism and work experience

@Andrea-RO Also I'm most interested in working at a zoo type place but almost every one says you have to be able bodied. 

There's one that doesn't but they probably just forgot to exclude people like me and will change it when I ask.

Re: Ableism and work experience

It just that they or organisation cannot be bothered to cater for your limitations and adapting the workplace to your suit your disability. Indirectly, they are discriminating against your for disability if they refuse to take you in because of it. But you need prove against it and a strong case if you want these people to change.

 

Take notes of what they say and their actions, collect all correspondence from you and their replies and if you have found evidence you have being discriminated against set a brief, whist doing this you might ask someone to help you. Then go to the Disability Discrimination Legal Service and they will look at your cases and see if you got a good case or not.

Re: Ableism and work experience

It just that they or organisation cannot be bothered to cater for your limitations and adapting the workplace to your suit your disability. Indirectly, they are discriminating against your for disability if they refuse to take you in because of it. But you need prove against it and a strong case if you want these people to change.Take notes of what they say and their actions, collect all correspondence from you and their replies and if you have found evidence you have being discriminated against set a brief, whist doing this you might ask someone to help you. Then go to the Disability Discrimination Legal Service and they will look at your cases and see if you got a good case or not.

Re: Ableism and work experience

@SNUFFLES I was thinking of doing that.

 

I guess if I'm not spending that time actually progressing with this I night have to.

Re: Ableism and work experience

Feels like I should give a big fucking shout out to whoever put work experience as a disability support worker in the "working with animals" section. Smiley Mad  😡

There aren't enough angry emojis.

Fucking last thing I wanted while looking for accessible work experience.

Re: Ableism and work experience

Oh my goodness @Tiny_leaf , that is a shocker - I hope it was an accident, because otherwise that is incredibly messed up Smiley Mad I would be furious too. 

 

Reading back through the thread, I'm so sorry to hear you've come across all of these barriers that just shouldn't be there. I think @Andrea-RO 's suggestion of setting up a new email is a great one, it must feel awful to see your deadname every time you have to email otherwise - do you think that's something you could look into?

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