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Saturday 24 February 2018

'My wheelchair is putting prospective employers off' - 23-year-old who has been searching for a job for almost a year

Dylan Nelson (23) believes his wheelchair is putting prospective employers off
Dylan Nelson (23) believes his wheelchair is putting prospective employers off
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

A young man who has been searching for a job for almost a year has called on the Government to do more to improve access for people in wheelchairs to all workplaces.

Dylan Nelson has a security licence and is qualified in providing retail security or working in a control room (monitoring CCTV).

Since gaining a Fetac Level 4 certificate from Ballyfermot Training College the 23-year-old Crumlin native has been searching for a job for almost 12 months.

On top of his qualification he has eight weeks work experience with Transdev, the company who run the Luas, where he said he had a “great experience” working in the control room.

However, despite applying both on his own and with EmployAbility, a company which helps people with a disability find work he has yet to secure employment.

Dylan has cerebral palsy and has been a wheelchair user since birth – he believes this is what is holding him back in his chosen field despite having the relevant qualification.

“I believe it’s my wheelchair that puts companies off and it’s silly that it is still an issue. I was able to do the qualification therefore I can do the job,” he said.

He had no accessibility issues when doing his work experience and would have no problem carrying out his role he said.

At the moment he is applying for up to five jobs a week and has sent out hundreds of CVs in the past year.

But despite interviewing for several positions he has not managed to secure employment.

Security is something he has always dreamed of pursuing and he is not keen on giving up on his goals just yet and says he will stick out the job hunt for the time being.

“It’s an area I’ve always been interested in, I wanted to do the guards and this seemed like the closest thing,” he said.

He said he found it a “joke” for the Government to suggest that Ireland will soon have more jobs than people without considering the issues faced by people with disability.

Ireland is approaching full employment for the first time since the recession and earlier this year Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said he was conscious that we might have more work than workers.

“We might get to a point next year that we have more work in our economy than we have people to do it,” he said.

But for Dylan this refrain does not address the issues around getting people with a disability into the workforce and addressing their challenges.

 “It’s easy for them to say that but if they were out looking like me it would be a different story,” he said.

“It’s going to stay a joke until the Government does something about buildings with no wheelchair access. I think there is loads they could do about it but they don’t care,” he added.

Dylan said one company he interviewed with said they would look at improving access to their premises for people with access issues.

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