Danielle Bradley, National Transport Authority (NTA)
Danielle Bradley writes about her experience of finding employment with the National Transport Authority and the impact it has had on her life.
My name is Danielle Bradley. I have Spina Bifida and I am profoundly deaf. I started work experience with the National Transport Authority in 2013. On my plan with Cheeverstown House, I always wanted to work. Every time I was asked what my goal was, I said to work in an office.
After 6 years of work experience and with the support of my job coach Collette McLaughlin, I gained employment with the NTA as a clerical officer in 2019. I work with the Leap cards. My manager is Derek Malone. Before the pandemic, I worked in the office 2 days a week with Karen Fogarty. Karen is my communications assistant employed by Chime. We travelled into work together on the Luas and without Karen, I would not be able to do my job.
My colleagues and manager in the NTA have been very supportive of me. Some of the staff have learned Irish Sign Language, which was paid for by the NTA. They also gave me a personal fire alarm for my desk so that I know when the fire alarm rings. Some of my colleagues received training to help me if a fire alarm is raised, to ensure I get out of the building safely. They also installed an Evac Chair to enable me to go from one floor to another. We would also take our tea breaks together and I always feel included.
At the start of the pandemic, I was not able to work. My colleagues kept in touch with regular e-mails. We even tried a video call. It was great to see everyone. Since January 2021 I have been able to work from home. The NTA provided me with a laptop, monitor and a keyboard. I have good IT skills which I learned on an ECDL course and a QQI Level 3 course in computers. Karen and I log into the NTA, we screen share and then Karen dials in on the iPad. This way we can communicate easily.
We also have weekly check-ins with Derek Malone my manager, to see how I am getting on. I am still in regular contact with my colleagues over e-mail. I find that video team interactions can be difficult if people are talking over each other at the same time. We can’t do tea breaks like before, but myself and Karen will catch up over a video call and a cuppa. Every Wednesday we have a MS Teams call with Collette McLoughlin to see how I am getting on too. The NTA has been really supportive and inclusive and I really enjoy working with the NTA.
With the right help and support, everyone with a disability should be able to get a job!
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