Susan is doing an internship with The Care Inspectorate at their offices in Dundee.
Her project involves looking at the tools the inspectorate is using when evaluating the service of care providers. Susan has been an active member of Inclusion Scotland for some time now, and is keen to see more disabled people taking on internship opportunities. This blog is partly written in the Falkirk dialect and we are publishing it this way as Susan requested, ken.
Hi, My name is Susan I am married with 4 children and 5 grandchildren. I originally come from Falkirk but I have lived in Fife for the last 23 years and absolutely love it, so if I ever call you hen when am here please don’t be offended it’s just part of who I am.
I am a disability rights campaigner and have been lucky enough to remain in employment all my life. I spent a huge chunk of my life working with children and young people in community centres all over Fife and just loved watching them develop into amazing young men and women, enabling and empowering them at every opportunity to make positive choices in their lives. I loved every bit of this and most importantly loved helping young people who had maybe not always made the right choices or decisions, or needed a bit more support but most importantly it worked.
I have spent the majority of my working life on various committees and boards in the voluntary, third and public sector which mainly focus on poverty, equality and Inclusion. I also spent three years on NHS Fife Health Board as a Non Executive Director working with the lovely professor James McGoldrick who I have just found out is the Chief Executive for SCCS here, so if you think am following you Jim you might be right! At first I found the NHS a bit of a challenge but this is somewhere I learned so much and seriously felt I had found somewhere where my skills and knowledge could help shape the services and resources that my peers either needed or basically relied on.
I have been self employed for the last 10 years organising events, conferences, pop up activities for children and young people, research projects for Lidl, Asda, Tesco, Thorntons, WH Smith, Sainsburys , Oak Furnitureland… just way too many to mention.
I am very passionate about helping people and provide free advocacy services for disabled people, whether it be representing them with issues in the workplace, housing, health or access and retention to benefits without being sanctioned this is probably the biggest piece of my working life. I love every minute of it and feel blessed that I have managed to touch so many people’s lives. I have also spent the last 5 years on the National Chronic Pain Improvement Group, Ministerial Steering Group on Chronic Pain and now the National Advisory Committee for Chronic Pain which has allowed me the opportunity to improve the services and resources for chronic pain patients and staff throughout Scotland.
When I saw the Research and Evaluation Intern post advertised through Inclusion Scotland’s website I thought I could do that, and LUCKY ME I got the post, so I will be working on a project for 12 weeks to oversee the intelligence tools that the intelligence team provide here in the Care Inspectorate in Dundee.
So I spent my first week in individual meetings with the team getting to know their roles and which tools they specialised in, this worked out really well as you know when you start a new post the time you get set up with passwords for computers etc and it all takes time. There is a lot of clearance to go through before I can access files, so it also gave me time to get to know the team on a more personal level which was really good. I can honestly say they are a great bunch and can’t do enough for me, so as the week progressed I started to gain more passwords for different systems so am getting there, hey bearing in mind av never used a lot of these programmes before ad say am doing well! Even the ones I have used take some getting used to again. There are a lot of things in excel that I have never needed to use for a few years or I had forgotten so am refreshing old skills and developing new ones at the same time. Al get my heed round it all one day at a time!
The main reason for me writing this blog is NOT about who I am and what av done. Its more “if I can do it so can YOU”. I doesnae really matter if your at the start of your career and its your first post, if your in the middle or the end the main thing is Inclusion Scotland has worked hard for years to achieve this and WELL DONE them! These posts have been created specifically for us NOT just to get us in doors that never opened before, they are real jobs in the Scottish Government, in the public sector, jobs with MSPs etc. For a long time disabled people have been seen as the “volunteers of society”. Take a look around every organisation and show me where all our peers are in the middle and at the top? They are just NOT there. I have spent the last 10 years trying to help the disabled workforce stay in work, but one by one folk lost their jobs through “capability”. So I say come on, lets get behind Inclusion Scotland and help them shape our workforce, we SHOULD have EQUAL representation in every walk of life so get out there and spread the word to your family and friends and don’t worry if you are a bit shy or nervous. This is where we can all help each other.
So what are you waiting for? Get on the phone, drop them an email. They are YOURS for the taking you just have to try. We deserve a future too.
Inclusion Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government’s Equality Unit to deliver the National Disability Internship Programme “We Can Work”. 30 internships will be created for disabled people per year as per the Scottish Government’s A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People Delivery Plan. You can find out more about the plan by clicking here.