How I learned that #ActuallyICan

Mark Luff

Mark's disability doesn't stop him from doing what he wants to do. Here he tells us about how our Change Works programme helped him to gain the confidence to secure a job he loves.

A man wearing glasses taking a selfie

I’ll put it like this. I’ve gone from finding it difficult to get into work to having a job I really like – which is not something many people can I say. I’m very thankful for that.

While the coronavirus crisis has meant me being on furlough, I’m also fortunate enough to have an employer who is being flexible in bringing me back to work as lockdown eases. Again, it’s a shame that too many people can’t say the same.

Building confidence to gain employment

Before joining Leonard Cheshire’s Change Works programme, I’d had a lot of problems with my confidence in approaching employers. If I did secure a job, the anxiety would then kick in, and I’d have a lot of difficulties keeping it.

I have autism and ADHD and experience frequent panic attacks. In the time leading up to me getting involved with Change Works, I’d gone through two labouring jobs, neither lasting longer than a day

But the programme was able to change all of that for me. Fast forward to now, and thanks to Change Works, I’ve been in a job I enjoy for the better part of a year. It’s the longest-term job I’ve had by quite a way.

Positive life changes through employment

I credit Change Works with helping me gain confidence in myself and realising what I can do. It’s made me feel a lot better both about myself and about getting into work. I’m able to focus better, express myself better and, most importantly, I’ve been able to find and hold on to the job I have now.

What’s more, the fact is the support I received will go on changing my life for the better. I can go into any future job with more confidence than ever before.

Coronavirus could teach more employers how to be flexible

I hope we’re able to learn something from coronavirus. Especially when it comes to working. It might mean that more people have an experience like mine, in terms of securing a job with an employer who can be flexible and supportive.

I think things like Change Works are going to be increasingly important as we come past this crisis – other people need to have the chances that I’ve had.

My story is why Leonard Cheshire’s work is so crucial and needs to continue. Many more young disabled people need to learn that they can do things they want to do, and be able to say, like me, that #ActuallyICan.

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We want to help more young disabled people like Mark to achieve their goals. We need your support to help more young disabled people say "I have a disability, but it's not stopping me".

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