I used to work for the Scottish consortium for learning disability (SCLD) where I travelled over Scotland to give presentations at different organisations ,such as the Scottish government and the national autistic society, about obstacles and stigma I experienced in my own journey getting in to employment. Having a learning disability myself I am able to share my thoughts and experience on facing these issues head on. I share that having a job makes you feel good, and a place where you can make new friends.

Often you find that people with a disability are not confident as they are not give an equal chance at job opportunities, I know a lot of people who would love to work but face this challenge.

Society needs to stop seeing the disability first.

The latest figures shows that we have 44 per cent of disabled people in Scotland in work, compared to 79 per cent of non disabled people being in work. There is also a massive variation between impairment groups over 60% of people with mobility issues are in work, compared to around 90 per cent of people with a learning disability being unemployed.

I could give you all the figures, but at the end of the day we need to start like I say not seeing the disability, but see the person and raise awareness.

There should be more ambassadors appointed to go and talk to employers, driving incentives to move away from this stigma.

Talking about stigma I was sad to hear about a disabled man in a wheelchair who was asked to leave a cinema last week because his life-saving ventilator was too noisy. He has muscular dystrophy and he was just out for the night at the weekend with his carer, the staff got six complaints out of 200 that the ventilator was a nuisance.

If it were someone texting or answering a phone call during the film, well I could understand but he can’t do either of those as he doesn’t have the physical strength to do so. There is a lot of work still to be done on that front to raise disability awareness, not just in work but socially.

As you may know, I am the chairman of East Renfrewshire Disability Action who meet once a month to discuss current issues.

We are always on the look out for new members, now you don’t have to have a disability to join. For more information or you would like to join please email erda847@gmail.com ERDA is also on the look out for a new treasurer. We would be delighted to hear from anyone with the relevant experience who may be interested. If you think you may fit the bill then please do get in touch.