David Didston is a man who is renowned for his respectable work ethic. The 38-year-old has been a valued member of staff at The Time Capsule in Coatbridge for more than a decade and states that his job there has changed his life for the better.

 “I’m a different person since I started working. I was a lonely guy and I had no get-up-and go. I was staying in all the time and I didn’t have the money to go out and do any of the things I wanted to do. I felt like my life was stuck.”

David was in his mid-twenties when he joined the ENABLE Works programme which supports people with learning disabilities in finding employment. Although he had been actively seeking work, he was finding it difficult to establish suitable jobs and where to seek them.

Said David: “I had been trying to find employment but I wasn’t getting anywhere. I wanted to find a job working with motors, especially JCB vehicles but when I contacted places I just felt that they weren’t taking me seriously.”

After some discussion with ENABLE Works, arrangements were made for David to take up a work placement in a local MOT garage. Despite his enthusiasm and reputation as a ‘model trainee’, his feelings of not being taken seriously were founded when he was subject to verbal abuse from a colleague.

“One guy who worked at the garage called me a very hurtful name: a spastic. It was horrible for me and it made me upset and angry. I had been doing a good job and I’m not stupid so I didn’t deserve to be treated like that. I liked working there and learning all about the motors, but I couldn’t put up with that sort of thing, so I spoke to my ENABLE worker and we decided that I should leave.”

Determined not to let his difficult experience deter him from finding employment, David remained keen to try another placement and The Time Capsule was approached. 

“I was worried when I started there. I wondered if I would be treated in the same way, but I soon realised I had nothing to worry about. Everyone was really nice to me and I was treated with a lot of respect. I started working in the café and my boss told me that he had noticed that I was really professional with members of the public. He also said that I was very hard-working and that’s true, I did whatever I was asked to and nothing was too much hassle for me. I enjoy working and I always want to do the best job I can.”

After completing a placement, David was offered permanent employment at the leisure centre and more than a decade on his commitment and reliability have impressed the managerial team so much that his responsibilities have been increased. He initially moved from his job in the café to the domestic team, then in to his current post as grounds-man - a role which fills him with pride.

“I look after all the grounds around the centre and make sure they are clean, tidy and safe. I have a lot of responsibility and I like that because I know that I am trusted. My boss asks me for help with extra duties quite often too. I carry my own radio and he calls me on that to sort out big deliveries or any other things like that. Whenever he asks, I say ‘certainly, I’ll be there straight away’ because I’m always happy to help.”

David believes that his job at The Time Capsule has not only given him the chance to show people that he is as capable an employee as the next person, but that it has also gone a long way towards increasing his confidence and sense of self-worth. He opened his own bank account shortly after he was given a permanent post and with his finances on track, he swiftly embraced the opportunity to do the things in life he had been unable to afford to do previously.

“I go out with my friends much more than I was able to before. I love pub quizzes and I’m in the darts team at the Banks Social Club. That’s my favourite hobby and I’ve won a quite a lot of competitions. I like to take part in that and enjoy the friendly banter. I also have a large music and DVD collection so I’m never bored when I do stay in the house!” 

Although David enjoys the personal benefits of being employed, he firmly believes that employers should not overlook people with learning disabilities when they are seeking dedicated, committed workers.  

“My boss always says that the place would run like clockwork if all his staff were like me. All the people who work there do a great job, but when he says that about me it makes me feel brilliant. All I ever wanted was the chance to prove that I could work the same as anyone else so that I could live my life properly. The Time Capsule gave me that chance. I think it was worth it and my boss does too.” 

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