My name is Joseph. I am confined to a wheelchair since birth due to Cerebral Palsy. After many operations I now have the quality of life I can enjoy.  

In 1995 I travelled to New York to compete in the New York state park games for the physically challenged, I won five gold medals.  

In 1995 I got my first power chair which gave me independence the chair only traveled short distances before needing to be charged. There was a vast improvement when I got my second power chair in 1998.  The Jazzy Pride was much more reliable and could travel medium distances before needing to be charged. However my current chair is my best yet as it is equipped with lights and indicators.

When I was four started play school in Galway City, as I was living in the country, I was first to be picked up in the morning, and was last to be dropped off in the evening.

I started in my local national school when I was seven.  On dry days I cycled to school on my three wheel bike. When I was in first class the school got there first computer, there was no graphics, and the printer had to be reset which I couldn’t do, the teacher had to set it.  In March 1997 I started secondary school. My father drove me to school every day for the 5 years and used a trailer to transport my chair.   I completed my secondary education in June 2002.

In October 2002 I started a computer course in the Adult Education Centre in Tuam. I completed my two year course in June 2004.  As part of my course I had to go on work experience for ten days, in an administration area which gave me a taste for my future career.

I completed my two year course in June 2004, I decided it was time I looked for work.

On 6th of January 2005 I met my employment facilitator, and we set about finding work in the administration role in the Tuam/Athenry area. On the 19th of June I attended an interview for a job as an administrator in the Tuam swimming pool. After a tense five week wait I received a call from head office  as a result of this call I was now looking forward to my first job.     

The biggest obstacle I had to overcome was organising transport that suited the hours I was to work.  It was arranged with the IWA to provide accessible transport to take me to and from work.

On the 6th    of October 2005 I started my job as an administrator  in  Coral Leisure Centre Tuam, which was Aura Leisure Centre at the time.  My Job included duties such as typing, photocopying, and general file management.  I have been working there now for 10 years and I love my job

Aidan Murphy - Confidential Shredding Specialists Ireland

Aidan Murphy started work in 2010 as a General Operator with Confidential Shredding Specialists Ireland  which was established as Connaught Waste Recycling  in 1995 to assist companies set up an 'in-house' Waste Management System and to achieve the environmental standards. The company which is  owned by brothers Peter and Gerry Jordan has a customer base  of over 2500, and employ 23 full time staff between the site in Claregalway and the nationwide collections. It recycles approximately 8000 tonnes of paper, cardboard, plastics and wood per year. 

Aidan loves working at CSSI.  When we asked him what difference work has made to his life he told us “I love working here, I had a car before I started work, but without having a job I don’t know if I would have been able to afford to keep it?  I also got to meet new people and sometimes at the weekend I meet up with the lads from work and we go for a night out in Galway.   I now have my friends from home and the friends I went to school with, but also I have another group of friends as well.  There is a sports and social club which Katrina has set up and I am a member of it.  He also said “I enjoy the Christmas time more, because you know it’s a break from work but you have a job to go back to in the New Year”.                                      

Peter and Gerry are delighted with Aidans work They said “Aidan is a great worker, always on time and his work is steady and consistent.  He gets on well with the other lads and has really come out of his shell since he started to work here.  He is always in early in the morning, and will have the cup of tea and chat with the other staff in the canteen before work starts.  He is a real team player, and is a real addition to our work team”. 

Nora Lydon - Ard Rí House Hotel 

Nora Lydon started working in the Árd Rí House Hotel in 2008 as a Kitchen Assistant.  Nora loves working at the hotel.  Some of the most  important things for her at work are,  having a nice manager hotel owner,  and  supportive colleagues to work with every day.  Work has made her a much more confident person.  Tom McHugh the hotel owner is delighted with the standard of Nora's work and says she is a very dedicated worker.  

Since starting work in 2008 Nora has been to America to visit family on two separate occasions.  The first year Nora travelled with a family member.  The second year she travelled on her own.  Nora told us “before I started work I would never have dreamed of going to America, never mind going on my own, work has given me the confidence to do things - I feel I am much more able now”.  She also says “I know I am doing a good job at the hotel as I get regular feedback from the manager and I know if they ask me to work extra hours, then I must be doing a good job”.  

Nora has been a great inspiration to other people with disabilities who also want to work. She has also been a huge inspiration to all the team at EmployAbility Galway.    Nora’s motto is “Never, never, give up”!