Morag is a personal adviser, working for Fedcap Scotland on the Fair Start Scotland service, supporting unemployed people to get back to work – or often find work for the first time.
Morag joined the team in February 2020 – just before the coronavirus pandemic hit – she has shown remarkable and consistent performance, even when faced with the many challenges thrown upon the organisation during this time.
Morag is a former librarian and NHS support worker and holds a postgraduate qualification in vocational rehabilitation. Coming to the employability sector for the first time, she has adapted to her new role well, always taking the time to get to know her customers and offering them an exceptional service.
She consistently excels in her personal in-work goals set by managers, achieving 13% more job starts than her target. On average, she places more than five people into work each month on her own. But she knows she can’t do it all alone. She works with members of the team with varying skills, such as employer solutions, health and wellbeing and tutors, to ensure her customers are fully supported.
She has built and maintains excellent working relationships with a number of partner organisations, including Apex Dumfries, Summerhill Community Centre, Skills Development Scotland, Third Sector First and The Hub Dumfries – recognising that to support people to move forward, we cannot do so in silos.
Her colleagues praise her for her ‘can-do’ attitude, and positive work ethic, and always working with a smile on her face. She is seen as a source of inspiration for other employees who want to get the best out of themselves and has recently been training and mentoring new staff members to guide them in best practice and Fedcap processes.
Morag does all this with a hearing impairment. She has severe hearing loss, with no hearing in her right ear, suffers with tinnitus and developed a stammer as a result. As a child she had a series of ear operations with no success and in those days, there was little in the way of additional support in the classroom. For example, if her teachers had quiet voices, she would really struggle to hear them.
However, although identifying this as her biggest personal barrier and overcoming confidence issues as a young girl, she has not let it hold her back.
Morag does not let her impairment get in the way of her quest to help and assist others into sustainable employment. She uses her disability to relate to participants on programme and just by her doing her job she is effectively modelling to all participants, staff and peers that an additional support need does not need to be an insurmountable barrier.
Her background as a support worker, the qualifications she holds and her personal experiences mean she has a good understanding of how best to support people with disabilities into employment. For her, the key has been education, improving skills, her knowledge of rights and the confidence to be able to engage employers about reasonable adjustments – and of course, finding the right kind of employers who are prepared to look below the surface.
Morag always demonstrates to participants that she believes in their skills and talents, that the problem is not a disability but the disabling environment, which can be changed. She always tries to impart the knowledge of the resources available which can change their lives.
A favourite saying of hers is ‘what makes you different, makes you special’, celebrating diversity and encouraging participants to recognise their own qualities and attributes.