A chance to shine

Frances Maguire did not have the easiest start to life. She was born with retinopathy of prematurity, an eye condition which means she has no vision in her right eye and limited vision in her left. /Emma web updates/frances1

“Finding work has always been a struggle,” said Frances. “It can be really disheartening when you’re instantly judged at job interviews. I think that for the majority of organisations, the idea of employing someone with a visual impairment is a closed door.”

Frances worked in customer support in a job centre before she was made redundant. She then developed cataracts which required two further operations, keeping her out of work for more than 18 months. But her life changed for the better when a friend recommended she look into a work placement with Carillion.

She joined the SkyBlue Glasgow team on a work placement in November 2015, picking up recruitment administration duties supporting the Northern Hub. Along with her guide dog Yara, she soon became a popular and vital part of the team, and was offered a part time role in January 2016, working one day a week.

“I was really nervous when I first started as people’s views on disability can be so varied, so I was really worried how my new colleagues would perceive me,” she added. “But I soon learnt that everyone here is really friendly and supportive. There’s a great atmosphere and everyone understands my condition.”

15 months down the line and Frances is now thriving, working three-and-a-half days a week as a Database Administrator, undertaking office duties, as well as updating and maintaining the colleague database. She has also taken on extra hours within Services, providing administrative support to the West of Scotland Housing Association contract.

“I need routine, so getting extra hours from the same workplace was great,” added Frances. “The work is varied and interesting, and I’ve had great support from my colleagues.

“Carillion has been much more progressive and understanding than other businesses I’ve come across, with a committed focus on inclusion within the workplace. They gave me vital equipment such as a zoom text magnifier and a larger monitor, which are essential in completing my work. They’ve opened the door and given me opportunities I didn’t think existed before.”