Nikita Greedy left school with 14 GCSEs but is struggling to find work
For the past two years Nikita Greedy has applied for more than 70 jobs and has faced constant rejection.
The 17-year-old, from Llanrumney, Cardiff, left school with 14 GCSEs but has been on a constant struggle to find employment ever since.
She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was just 18 months old and goes about her day in a wheelchair.
Nikita says she has applied to around 70 retail and call centre-based jobs in the last two years but has only received seven interviews.
She said: “Recently I applied for three jobs and didn’t say I was disabled. I had three interviews and when I turned up the interviewer was looking at me really weirdly.
“To the employers that I have told I am disabled, I haven’t heard anything back. That is why I didn’t say anything on my last few applications to see if anything would be different.
“I feel really awkward when I go into interviews. People make me think I don’t deserve to be here. But why should I be treated any different?”
Nikita currently studies A-levels at St David’s College in Cardiff. She left St Illtyd’s High School two years ago with 14 GCSES, including an A in child development.
She says the constant rejection is affecting her mentally and she wishes an employer would take a chance on her.
“It really gets me down, I feel like I’m not going to get anywhere with anything. My family have been so supportive of me because this has affected me mentally and they can see the change in me.
“It’s knocked my confidence so much. I’m doing all the work I can to get in a good position but what more can I do?
“I want employers to treat everyone the same and not to judge those who look different. It doesn’t affect my ability to work. I just want someone to take a chance on me.”
Growing up with a disability, Nikita says she was often bullied and says this still happens now.
Nikita added: “It was hard growing up with a disaibility. I got bullied as a child because I was in a wheelchair and even now people will make comments. It’s hard to get over.
“The little things like reaching for things when cooking or getting dressed in the morning are the hardest. It’s all I’ve ever known.”
Nikita’s eldest sister Liane, 32, says supporting her sister is becoming difficult due to the constant rejection.
She is now raising awareness of her sister’s case to show how difficult it can be for those with physical disabilities in the workplace.
“My family have been fighting for Nikita’s rights for nearly 18 years and we shouldn’t still be fighting like this,” said Lianne.
“All I can do is reassure her and help her apply for jobs. I take her on little trips out to try and cheer her up. That’s all I can do at this point.”
“Getting rejected is affecting her massively because all her siblings have been out working since we were younger,” Liane added.
“She doesn’t understand why she can’t do what we all do. It makes her upset sometimes and she’s quite withdrawn with things like going out because she has to ask her parents for money.
“All she wants her own independence. Just like most 17-year-olds.”
Disability working stats and what you need to know
Disability charity Scope say half of disabled people feel excluded from society.
Based on Opinium polling of 2,000 working age disabled adults, the research reveals:
Two in five (41%) working age disabled people don’t feel valued by society.
Only 42% think the UK is a good place for disabled people
Half of working age disabled adults (49 per cent) feel excluded from society because of their impairment or condition.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission recent report, Is Wales Fairer – The state of equality and human rights 2018 found that the employment rate for non-disabled people (73.4%) was more than twice the rate for disabled people (34.6%) in 2016/17.
A report by Citizens Advice Cymru in 2017 found that its clients who were disabled or had a health condition encountered bad practice and discrimination by employers.
Martyn Jones, CEO of Learning Disability Wales, added: “Employment not only supports independent living but improves confidence, health and wellbeing through the social networks formed in the work environment.
“One of the main barriers to employment that disabled young people experience are the negative attitudes of some employers and co-workers. Also the low expectations of others can limit disabled young people’s ability to fulfil their potential .
“Other barriers such as buildings and transport can also limit employment opportunities for some but there is a general lack of awareness amongst both employers and potential employees, of the support that is available.”