Diversity is at the heart of everything we do. We recognise that leading our sector in ideas around inclusion and belonging is crucial to our success and the success of the organisations we work with. We’re proud that people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ community, women, and people from the global majority consider Peridot a great place to work.

We embrace everyone as they are, and recognise that not all disabilities are visible and differences are to be celebrated. To mark Disability Pride Month 2024, two of our staff will share their stories.

With 7 years of previous experience in the further education sector, Katie Morris joined our Education Practice in 2022 and provides exceptional administration support to our consultants and our partners. She is passionate about her role in ensuring that the right people are in the right roles at the right time, providing people of all ages with the education they deserve.

We thank her for sharing her story.


 

I am going to hold my hands up here as this time last year, I didn’t even know that Disability Pride Month existed. I didn’t know a lot of things though; I didn’t know what Functional Neurological Disorder was, I had never heard of Non-Epileptic Attack Disorder and whilst I had heard of Fibromyalgia, I didn’t know what it was, not really. And, I certainly had no idea that I was about to be diagnosed with all of these.

I was formally diagnosed with all the above in October 2023. The symptoms began in January last year, but I had no idea what was happening to me — I just hoped it was going to end.

You see, I was a 30-year-old wife and mother of three, and I worked full-time in a hybrid role as an Executive Assistant when I developed these conditions. I was healthy until, well, one day I wasn’t.

I think sharing this story is important because what comes next may be the most shocking part for some. I have multiple seizures a day; I get muscle tremors; I have chronic pain and insomnia. Sometimes, I lose the ability to speak and most recently, to walk. Yet, here’s the surprising part — I am now a 31-year-old wife and mother of three, and I still work full-time as an Executive Assistant.

Do you see how nothing has changed? I still tell my husband where all the things he can’t see in front of his face are daily, I still take care of my three girls and I still carry out my duties at work with no hesitation.

The support I have received from Peridot Partners since my diagnoses has been phenomenal. At present, I don’t have all that many adaptations (through my own stubbornness if I’m honest) but just knowing how many options are available to me, should there ever be a time when I do need them, is so uplifting.

There was an incident recently that meant nothing to my colleagues but everything to me! We were having a weekly catch-up via Teams and I dropped into a seizure. I did my thing and when it was over, I abruptly told all parties that I was back in the room. I laughed off the episode when my colleagues told me they could see I had gone and knew I would be back shortly. I was mortified, but deep down inside I felt a sense of safety knowing that they had continued the meeting and were just patiently waiting with no judgement, panic or pressure. I was in a safe space where I could return in my own time.

I feel it imperative to mention that, should Peridot have chosen not to support me working remotely, I would highly likely be unemployed right now. Imagine that — an able-minded person who wants to work, unemployed simply because my body can no longer manage the drive to the office. There’s some food for thought!

According to parliamentary findings, at the end of 2023, the disability employment rate in the UK stood at 54.2% – compared to 82.0% for non-disabled people. People with disabilities are almost twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people, resulting in a disability employment gap of 27.8%.

That said, diversity, equality, belonging and inclusion are increasingly important on employers’ agendas and priorities, as they should be. I want to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all at Peridot Partners who continue to support me to continue working, keep me thriving, and most importantly, ensure I feel valued!


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