Casey joined Nationwide in February 2016 on a 12 month fixed term contract as a Marketing Executive in the Current Account, Customer Management team. Here he discusses his experience with dyslexia and why he decided to pursue a career at Nationwide.
Before Nationwide, I had a varied career which started in retail as a sales associate, working my way up to management whilst studying towards a business foundation degree. I then moved on to work for a major drinks company as a territory sales manager. I've also owned 2 of my own businesses; inflatable castle hire and a public house.
In 2015 I decided to take a year-long career break to look after my then 2-year-old daughter. During this year away from work, I enjoyed spending time with my daughter Ruby, although life as a single parent could be challenging at times. After a while, I started to really miss working; the time off gave me the chance to reflect on what I really wanted from my career.
My introduction to dyslexia
During my time studying my business foundation degree at university, I was diagnosed with dyslexia. At that point I wasn’t really sure what it meant for me or my future as I was offered very little support or understanding. I now know there have been very successful people with dyslexia; Albert Einstein, Richard Branson, Winston Churchill, Agatha Christie, Whoopi Goldberg and Walt Disney.
“ I didn’t tell many people that I had dyslexia as I was a little in denial, in fact I did as much as possible to hide it, as I thought people would think I was stupid. ”
My dyslexia was never a barrier in my previous roles and to be honest I put it to the back of my mind. When reflecting on what I wanted from my career, I wanted a job in a corporate environment, and somewhere that would take into consideration my commitments to my daughter and my dyslexia (although, I didn’t really know much about my dyslexia or how it could affect me in the work place.) At the time I remember seeing and reading how diverse and understanding Nationwide were in their recruitment.
Dyslexia in the workplace
There were many jobs which I really wanted to apply for at Nationwide, but didn’t as I was worried that my dyslexia would prevent me from performing in those roles. It took me a long time to feel confident to apply for Nationwide, and I had many conversations with people either working for Nationwide or who had worked there previously before I had the courage to apply.
During the application process, I was worried that I'd have to express myself in writing which is not something that I'm confident at doing; I ended up spending 2 and half months getting my CV ready to a point I was happy to apply for a role here, I wanted to feel sure I got it right and I took my time reviewing it to get it fit for purpose.
“ Adjusting for any disability or impairment is part of our core practice, underpinned by a professional code set down by the British Psychological Society. It's a consistent approach that the individual can critically steer; we take their experience and any professional or diagnostic recommendations, before exploring and agreeing adjustments to the application process. ”
These adjustments are always determined by a professional practitioner, and can range from the relatively straightforward to really quite sophisticated changes including; time, content, format, the method of access as well as additional support where appropriate. We also consider whether adjustments are ‘reasonable', and ensure the selection process doesn't adversely impact other candidates.
“ Enabling candidates to fully participate at their best in any selection process at Nationwide fits perfectly with our organisational values, it’s all about 'doing the right thing'; in this case for individuals, other candidates and the business. ”
My advice for someone with dyslexia
Since securing my role at Nationwide, they’ve been great at supporting me with my dyslexia. They even sent me on another assessment to be re-diagnosed so that they could provide the best support possible. This gave me a better understanding around the scale of dyslexia I have and the ways to utilise my strengths in order to work effectively in my role.
Nationwide's also invested in software which will support me and help me to develop within Nationwide. This far exceeded my expectations of support available to me and I'm very grateful for how far I've come within the last 6 months.
The advice I would give to people with dyslexia is to be confident in what your strengths are and to be upfront about your dyslexia when applying for roles and do it with confidence. People with dyslexia can have unique qualities which can be very useful to an organisation for example my assessment identified that I fall within the top 5% of the population for visual reasoning ability, meaning I’m able to problem solve quickly and react to visual information effectively.
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