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CASE STUDIES

The following case studies give insight into the SUCCEEDS placement experience

Julia's placement with the Communication Team at the Bank of Scotland involved designing and producing a staff magazine.

My name is Julia and I have mild celebral palsy which mainly affects my fine motor co-ordination. Through being handicapped, I feel my memory skills are very good as my brain is like a formula one racing car my hands are like a Lada chogging away on the motorway. I am patient and determined because activities can take me longer and I believe in fighting for what you want. I feel I understand people better and I am less judgmental of things because I know what damage can be done when people judge before they know the whole truth.

I was on a month placement with the Communication Team in the Support Services Division of the Bank of Scotland during August 1999. Having just graduated in publishing, my placement was to design and produce a new staff magazine for the Division. I took my knowledge from my course and came out as a stronger person.

Working within an office environment presented me with the opportunity to use skills I had learnt at university, boosted my confidence and developed my communication skills.

Although I had studied publishing at Napier University for four years, the placement enhanced my knowledge and experience in desk top publishing. I was using PageMaker to design the magazine and I was having to think of the whole publishing process rather than just one part, which was often the case at university. In addition, working in a real-life environment places a different angle on how you prioritise your work and the number of tasks you are asked to do because you are working within a busy and changeable workplace.

My confidence and communication skills were boosted immensely. I was working with managers but I always found them willing to listen to my opinions, breaking down the idea that people see the handicap before the person. I found myself being asked to show my skills, as I was going in as an expert in publishing therefore I was spent time with the people I worked with training them in the packages and explaining why I was doing things in a certain way. I was also taking part in the everyday life of the office and I felt part of what was going on, not just the placement girl.

Overall the placement has made a difference because it has eliminated some of the fears I had about going into a workplace where I was the stranger and handicapped. It does make you realised that working in an office does not have to be a major problem for either the employee or the employer as long as you approach the situation with honesty and belief in yourself.

Eileen completed a placement with the curator at Dundee University's Museum and Textile Department:

The idea of returning to work after many years of absence can be quite daunting. So when the opportunity arose through the new SUCCEEDS scheme, the feelings were tinged with a mixture of excitement and fear.

These were soon allayed by Ruth Neave, the curator of the Museum and Textile department at University of Dundee, whose guidance and reassuring words I was soon to be experiencing. We agreed to a five week summer placement on a part-time, voluntary basis. The arrangement was flexible involving two full days per week.

My first task: or practice piece, was a 5ftx4ft multi coloured, tapisserie wall hanging which required lightly vacuuming. I progressed to 'The embroidery Collection' originating from schools of needlework all over Europe and dating from 1900-1954. My main aim was to meticulously follow instructions from a textile manual, with ongoing supervision from Ruth. This involved lightly vacuuming, gently swabbing with cotton buds or recording any damaged surfaces. Each item required labelling with unbleached cotton tape, and special marking pens were tested for their indelibility. Once the collection was numbered and labels sewn in place, each article required careful packing and locating.

There was a smaller contemporary embroidery collection which required entering into the Collections Day Book. Similar criteria was used but each item needed measuring and describing. The use of gloves was essential due to the delicate and fragile condition of many of the fabrics, and care and attention necessary at all times to respect the artists time consuming work.

The last day of placement involved cataloguing paintings which were in storage at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. Whilst I was not involved personally in retrieving the paintings, many of which were large and heavy, the task did involve listing the paintings for treatment and preservation, and detaining those for further inquiry which were of interest and value.

The embroidery and printing on material relied on life-long skills, whereas the ability to follow a specialist's instructions was monitored closely and regularly by the curator. The opportunity to return to work was exciting and rewarding, insofar as, this type of employment was completely new to me. The task, therefore, was a challenge which proved not only enjoyable but brought its own satisfaction, instilling confidence to return again next year and build on this experience.

Christopher, who is currently studying an Msc in Multimedia Technology at Napier University School of Computing had the following experience:

This summer I was placed with the Scottish Sports Association as part of the SUCCEEDS project. I was primarily placed with the association because of my marketing knowledge. The Scottish Sports Association is the governing body for all sports associations in Scotland including Scottish Football Association.

During my placement at the SSA my duties varied from administrative to actually helping them improve the appearance of their annual report to designing a promotional leaflet informing people of what the organisation does. I also helped them improve their WEB Site.

I enjoyed working with the organisation and would recommend that it is part of SUCCEEDS next year. SUCCEEDS helped me greatly.

My disability was not a problem, but sitting at the computer for periods of time was. At first the SSA did not understand this, but after explaining my disability, they had to.


 

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