On Tuesday 25th February Wave-Length held an event called ‘Self-Employment Is It for You?’ It took place at Telford College of Arts and Technology (TCAT). The purpose of this event was for people with disabilities to see whether or not self-employment might just be for them. It was run by Ann Johnson, the director of Wave-Length CIC and John Rainford, the founder of a business called Strawberry Fields.
Those attending were all facing various social challenges and included people with disabilities with conditions such as autism, epilepsy and other types of learning difficulties. Some attendees had qualifications whereas others were still in education.
The aspirations of those attending ranged from wanting to be a tattoo artist, running a boxing club, running self-help groups/workshops, starting a counselling organisation, becoming a wedding planner, creating a publishing organisation , running a specialist supermarket, creating a youth/arts music centre and some wanting to become authors. But for others they just came along to see what self-employment was about
It was not surprising that some of the challenges faced were similar to anyone starting up as self-employed but some were more specifically linked to their current life challenges and included inexperience, financial issues, time management and lack of a planning and confidence.
The event was split into two parts. First part focused on what it takes as an individual to become self-employed. Including the benefits and challenges of being self-employed, encouraging those attending to understand the wider options that are open to them in order to increase expectation in their lives.
The second part, in comparison to the first focused on the point that you do not have to be a business person to run an organisation. Both Ann and John informed people through a fun and interactive session that the most important things are the overall idea, getting the initial concept of the business and developing your skills.
Everybody found the event useful and as a result all wanted to attend more events like this. Only one negative comment was raised about the event which was about the lack of people who attended but this is the start of a journey working in partnership with Wave-length and TCAT and as with starting up in business you have to start somewhere!
Next step sees the partners building on from this event, workshops will be created to expand the idea of those facing social challenge becoming self-employed and as a result of the feedback of those attending the workshops might be based on.
- Support and advice on becoming self-employed
- How to protect a business idea
- How to successfully run an organisation
- Advice on business planning
- Advice on business start up ideas
- Gaining an insight into funding and support
- More help on overcoming obstacles to self-employment when you have a disability
Ann Johnson was pleased with the events success. She has said “people were really engaged in the process, listening, doing, responding and asking relevant questions”.
We would like to say a big thank you to TCAT for letting Wave-Length use their venue to run the event, secondly to the people who attended and finally to both Ann Johnson and John Rainford for their advice and support.
The follow up workshops are again in Telford at the college on the afternoon of 13th March and the 20th March – two linked workshops – there is still opportunity for people to come along. It is free to attend and we would be delighted to send you more information just contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Editorial by James Sale of Wave-length CIC