Cerebral palsy sufferer Jake Andrews’s determination to find a job paid off after he applied for around 40 roles.
The 20-year-old Shipley College student is now an apprentice at Saltaire-based business services specialist AdviserPlus, which is planning to double its workforce over the next five years.
Jake, whose condition affects his movement and balance, was accepted onto a course at Shipley College which put him in touch with employers looking to recruit apprentices.
After two interviews, AdviserPlus offered him an apprenticeship in its learning and development department. Jake works four days a week in the office, with the other day at college.
Jake said: “Apprenticeships are a really good way of getting disabled and young people the experience that they need and helps with their prospects of employment. I didn’t feel that I had too much work pushed on me at the beginning, but have made progress, gradually getting more responsibility.
“It’s a great company to work for; there’s a lot of room for growth and improvement.
“I’m aware that I have a disability, but I’ve never known anything different and it’s never stopped me from doing anything. What drives me is the pride of going to work, doing a job and being respected. That’s really important to me.
“It’s what I want to do. I’ve always wanted to go out there and do something with my life, earn my own money and take pride in what I’m doing.
“There are lots of people out there who have a disability but who want to work and are more than capable of doing a job. People with disabilities can bring a lot to businesses.”
Chris Clarke, AdviserPlus chief executive, spoke at a recent regional conference to encourage more companies to recruit disabled workers along with disability minister Mike Penning and Falklands war veteran and campaigner Simon Weston.
She said: “AdviserPlus is extremely proud to be involved with the Prime Minister’s Disability Confident Campaign. It is important to our organisation that we recruit and retain the most talented and gifted individuals.
“It therefore makes sense to attract people from the widest talent pool, including disabled applicants, who are often the most loyal and committed employees.
“Jake is a young man who, regardless of his disability, makes a valuable contribution to AdviserPlus and wants to really prove himself in his job.”