For Franklin Ngemoh, Software Engineer at Vodafone, being born with cerebral palsy means he, “has tight muscles and problems with his balance.”
“I can walk but it just takes a lot more effort,” Franklin explains. “Around the house I walk and use furniture to prop myself up, but when I leave the house, I tend to use a wheelchair.”
Keen to be in the office to build relationships with his colleagues, he says that he feels comfortable at work and that he hasn’t had to ask for much additional support as the facilities generally suit his requirements.
He tends to struggle more with public transport saying, “if the train is packed, I have to find my way to the door early when getting off to make sure I can reach the handrail to get out of my chair. I also need to let fellow commuters know I’m getting off in advance so there’s pressure to be quick. Especially as you’re not sure how long the tube will be at the station.”
He adds, “travelling just generally takes more consideration and planning for me.”
Having been on Vodafone’s graduate programme since leaving university, Franklin says that he didn’t know what to expect from a work environment but that his Vodafone colleagues have generally gone out of their way to help him.
“When I was based in Newbury, someone reached out to me about what to do in the case of a fire, or emergency, and when I visited the UK office, someone showed me where some of the hidden lifts were, which helps make some areas more accessible.”
He notes how this, “shows the culture at Vodafone and the kind of people that join the company. Most people here wouldn’t let things go unnoticed if they thought they could help.”
Franklin goes on explain that any anxiety he feels day to day is mostly self-inflicted. “The mental impact of my disability is more of a challenge than the physical disability itself.”
He continues, “for me personally, when starting at Vodafone I had anxiety relating to the expectation I had on myself. I feel like I have something to prove to people. That’s a mental challenge that creates anxiety and doubt in yourself.”
When asked why he feels this way, he explains that he suspects deep down that people with disabilities aren’t seen that positively and clarifies that, “the mental pressure I feel is generated from what I think other people will think about me. I expect people to have low expectations. You always try your best for you, but I also want to put disability in a more positive light generally and change any negative views people may have.”