Roy from Ballymena in Co Antrim is a trained motor mechanic and worked for a number of years as a van driver. Following being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis his condition gradually deteriorated to the point where he could no longer continue to work in full-time paid employment. During this time Roy also lost a lot of his confidence and became introverted and quiet.
Roy was referred to the Cedar Foundation Training Service in Ballymena by his Social Worker and following a comprehensive period of induction and vocational profiling he began a training programme based at the Cedar Foundation’s Karten CTEC Centre. Roy, who had no previous IT experience, was supported to undertake a range of accredited training within the CTEC Centre along with participating in a range of personal development and confidence building training.
Roy demonstrated a keen interest and definite aptitude for IT and as he developed new skills in turn his confidence and self-esteem improved which led to him deciding to take up further training at the local further education college. Roy successfully completed a wide range of IT related qualifications including: Internet for Beginners, OCR CLAIT, OCR Internet Technologies, ECDL, ECDL Advanced and OCR Integrated Business Technology Stage II.
In addition he completed Personal Development Training and Job Search Training and also attended a number of work placements arranged by the Cedar Foundation. One placement involved Roy working in the Cedar Foundation’s Karten CTEC Centre on a voluntary basis. Roy was able to work extremely well with trainees, sharing his growing knowledge and expertise, and providing one to one attention for trainees who required more intensive support. He also helped in marking papers and provided general assistance to trainees and was acknowledged to be a valuable asset to the Training team.
Building on the success of his programme in the Karten Centre, Roy has subsequently progressed to voluntary employment with a local Day Centre for people with physical disabilities. This involves Roy delivering an IT programme to classes of clients on two days per week. It has also entailed sourcing new adaptive technologies for the Centre to assist the clients in their IT activities. Roy enjoys his work and is considered to be a valuable member of staff. Roy believes that the training and personal development he achieved through the CTEC Centre has helped him to be more confident:
I have changed and I think I am a lot more confident. I am more willing to go out now and I’m back driving again which means that I am not so dependent on taxis and family. I was so bored and my spirits were low. I lost all my confidence.
He has made friends through the Cedar Foundation and is particularly pleased that he can help others and support them in becoming more IT literate. This is helping him to become more involved in his local community and in his local football club.
I look forward to getting up in the morning. Now I have something different to do. I miss the CTEC Centre and the trainees and staff but being with the Cedar Foundation helped me to understand disability better.
Roy regards the Cedar Foundation and Its Karten CTEC Centre as being excellent in assisting individuals to achieve their goals, to gain qualifications and to link them with Colleges of Further & Higher Education. He particularly considers the Foundation’s User Forum as being effective in ensuring that the needs of individual trainees are met. He also believes that the staff are caring and genuinely interested in the health and wellbeing of trainees:
They care about you. Just because you have left they do not lose interest in you. They still keep in touch with you.