A disabled Basingstoke university graduate has expressed her fear that she is constantly being overlooked for work because of her condition.
Marti Hayes has said she has applied for around 50 jobs but has received just three interviews as a result – something she attributes to her disability.
The 24-year-old suffered respiratory failure in 2010, before then being told by doctors that she had a rare lung condition, meaning she can’t walk short distances without having to stop and catch her breath.
And while Marti, who graduated from the University of Southampton in 2014, now has a job working at Primark, she feels that she faces an uphill battle to convince employers to hire her because of preconceptions against the disabled.
She said: “Some employers don’t see all the positive things we can offer.
“I’ve filled out loads of job applications but I worry managers are put off when they see I’ve ticked the box declaring I have a disability.
“It’s frustrating because people don’t meet you before they see the CV.
It is against the law for employers to discriminate against someone applying for a position that has a disability; although Marti says her trepidations are founded on her past experiences.
She said: “Many people have said I can’t follow my dreams and I’m not able to do the things I want to do.
“I’ve experienced bullying, unkindness and judgement and I know I’m not alone.”
Marti founded children’s special needs organisation Haziedays two years ago to help provide support for youngsters and their families.
And she has now teamed up with national charity Fixers to produce a leaflet featuring tips for disabled youngsters looking for work, with T34 Paralympic double gold medalist Hannah Cockcroft MBE among those to contribute.
Marti added: “Having a long-term health condition has made me hard working, more driven and compassionate.
“Disabled people often say they are disregarded, resulting in low self-esteem and low confidence.
“I always think if they don’t want me because I’ve got a disability, they’re not someone I want to work for.”
To view Marti’s leaflet, visit www.issuu.com/fixersapprovals/docs/0950_we_are_what_we_are_final/1.