Ryan Smith — Change100 2017 intern, Arup

Ryan, Change100 2017 internRyan Smith is a law student at the University of Glasgow. He's placement was for ARUP in London where his main role was supporting the solicitors in contract review, research and presentations. 

‘I find it difficult to explain to a potential employer that I struggle with details under pressure. I feel that these are potentially fatal facts for my application process especially in my field. I never feel that I get to explain the other side that with a little support and understanding that I can overcome these issues. 

‘I was linked an email about Change100 from my disability support coordinator in University. My initial thoughts were that a programme like this would be very beneficial for my professional development. However, at first I believed my disability was not serious enough to warrant additional support in the workplace and one of my main reasons for applying was a lack of success in the traditional summer vacation schemes.

‘I believe that the Change100 may be one of the most important steps I have taken since I was accepted into University. I have been welcomed into a workforce that is accepting and understanding of my disability.

I have numerous contacts, both within Arup and the programme, in which I can discuss worries and difficulties. I feel very supported not only by my line manager in work but by the whole department. Everyone has made their assistance available and are willing to make any possible adjustments to make me as efficient as possible.

‘Most importantly for me however is they are interested in my disability not only to assist me but to improve their own knowledge of how dyspraxia is in the workplace. This level of understanding was surprising but very welcome for someone that has spent their life having to explain their selves to employers, lecturers colleagues etc. who has treated my disability as an issue rather than just another part of me.’