Real-life stories

Stephen Carter – Trainee Team Leader

Employee Stephen Carter
Job Trainee Team Leader
Sector Retail and local services
Company Damartex UK Ltd, Bingley
I’ve never been someone who sat at home and thought I couldn’t work due to my disability. I’ve never let my disability get in the way – I’ve always let that take second place”. Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter has just been promoted. After a year working in the contact centre at Damartex UK Ltd in Bingley, he’s joined the Team Leader Development Programme.  
Over the next few months, Stephen will learn how to manage a team of up to sixteen people, keep on top of the paperwork and meet performance targets. He enjoys his new role but admits it’s hard work: “There’s still lots to know, lots of ins and outs.”

Stephen has cerebral palsy, which affects the right side of his body.

Employer's story

Neil Hirst, Contact Centre Team Manager at Damartex, speaks highly of Stephen. “In many ways he really is a role model employee. He’s not only got the attributes we’re looking for, his attendance record is exemplary. I don’t believe he’s ever had a day off.”

Like everyone who applies to work at the contact centre, Stephen went through a long and rigorous recruitment process. This included completing a lengthy application form, doing a telephone interview and finally, attending an assessment day where “he gave an absolutely fantastic interview. One of the best decisions we’ve ever made, to be honest” says Neil.

Minimal adjustments

The building at Damartex already had lifts and suitable access, enabling Stephen to manage any mobility difficulties he has as a result of his disability. His employer only needed to make a small additional adjustment, which was simply “the cost of a bit of paint and a badge to say this is a reserved parking spot”.

The company employs several disabled people and have provided equipment such as specialised chairs and wrist supports for other employees. They’ve also moved around roles and duties to accommodate particular needs. “The changes we’ve made [for disabled employees] are minor in the grand scheme of things. And even if they’d been major, it would have been money and time well invested” says Neil.

Message to other employers

“If you’ve got any reservations, be honest, open and candid with the people. Be honest about your concerns so they can alleviate them.

[Disabled] People certainly haven’t taken umbrage with any questions, quite the contrary - they find it quite refreshing that you’re speaking to them in an honest and candid way to get the desired result for both parties. If you’re not honest and frank you run the risk of taking someone on when it’s not suitable for you and, more importantly, it wouldn’t be suitable for the candidate looking to join the company.”

Neil Hirst, Contact Centre Team Manager, Damartex UK Ltd

Employee's story

Since leaving school, Stephen has worked in shops, warehouses and contact centres and believes that he has faced discrimination during his career. Working in a warehouse, he felt that managers assumed it was not the right environment for a disabled person, even after he proved them wrong by doing his job well. He also believes he’s been passed over for interview in the past because he disclosed his disability on the application form. “People are frightened of the unknown, that’s the problem we’ve got. They’re not willing to give people a chance.”

In June 2006 Stephen lost his job due to a dislocated knee. It was his first period out of work but fortunately it was a short one - he started at Damartex that October.

Demanding job

Working in a very busy call centre requires excellent people skills. “Each call varies – some are really nice and then you do get some that are really testing your patience and your skill.”

Stephen’s new role as a Trainee Team Leader is also physically demanding: “You’re rushing round from desk to desk. The last few jobs I’ve had I’ve always been sat down using the keyboard. To get myself back on my feet again and moving about I have found tiring. But I am getting back into it now.”

“I’ve only been here a year– I’ve obviously moved forwards. I’m bettering my career and bettering myself. They’re a company that if you believe you want to go forward, they’ll support you.”
  • Holly Johnson
  • Max Zadow
  • Shirley Jones
  • Gordon Jeffs
  • Stephen Batchelor
  • James Edwards
  • Steve Ratchford
  • Peter Skuse
  • Peter
  • Stephen Carter
  • Ian Hollingsworth
  • Allisha Collins
  • Bianca Raven
  • Colin Jones
  • Thomas Hitchinson
  • Louise Whittaker
  • Shane McDermott
  • Sarah Whiteley
  • Sarah Haller
  • Christine Dryden
  • Sharon Stephenson
  • Neil Shepherd
  • Sheena Watts
  • Daniel Davies
  • Jeanette Weston
  • Beverley Davies
  • Kevin Wainwright
  • Stephen Forrester
  • Malcolm Burnand
  • Jon Prashar
  • Tahir Idris
  • Mim Robertson
  • Alan Bennett
  • Robert Kirkham-Evans
  • Jason Harris
  • Neil Singleton
  • Paul French
  • Eric Jewitt
  • Ann Wych
  • Brian Watson
  • Roger Ellison
  • Carol Beltran
  • Claire Easter
  • Graham Selby
  • Adrienne Henderson
  • Ian Pilcher
  • Gordon and Marina Sutherland
  • Joyce Blaikie
  • Michael Clarke
  • Rebecca Dawson
  • Frank Gillender
  • Sally Booth
  • Norman Milne
  • C-J Fordyce
  • Dawn Dawes
  • Terry Gillan
  • James Mathers
  • Irene Erwell
  • Gareth Chess
  • Julie Sumner
  • Robert Brumby
  • Alan Sage
  • Bethan Wyn
  • Sally Emery
  • Kevin Gordon
  • Lauren Stock

Stephen Carter outside, with the Damart factory chimney in the background

Stephen and Neil

Employer - Neil Hirst

Stephen at work on his computer