Ashley, Fire Safety Inspecting Officer

Ashley tells us about his journey with dyslexia, struggles in the workplace and how WSCC supports him.

Please could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I'm Ashley, a Fire safety inspecting officer for WSFRS and I've have been employed in this role since March 2023. Previously I spent five years in the NHS, working in the community of Horsham in the urgent responsive care team. My background for the last 16 years prior to the NHS and WSFRS is security and immigration/custodial detention services.

Could you please describe your neurodiversity?

I have dyslexia, which to me has been big struggle as I only received help when I went to secondary school after completing a long process with a child psychologist, after which I received extra support. But, I have since then learnt more in my working life from pushing myself to be better, from working hard to now be able to read most books, albeit I still struggle.

When I was in the NHS, I struggled with long drug names, conditions etc. in Latin. I have had very little help in many of my jobs and roles, from managers or peers and have felt at times that they were disinterested, I ended up not being able to achieve my goals, whether that be a promotion or courses.

One of the challenges I found is putting my thoughts onto paper, grammar, and at times what I call brain fog, as some days I can be able to complete a task no problem but on another, I can’t even process what I want to say or do on to paper.

How have you been supported by WSCC?

So far WSFRS have been the only employer that have put in place reasonable adjustments, from equipment to training. Most of my managers and peers have been supportive and understanding especially on those days when I find it difficult to put a cross what I want to say or write.

If there is one myth you could bust about your neurodiversity, what would it be?

Dyslexia is not just about reading and writing, as I have been finding out more over the years as to why I have had trouble not just reading and spelling. It affects those with it in many other ways including how we process information, remembering it and concentration.

Also, something I have learnt is it doesn’t mean you can’t do 'that' job, it just means you have to do it differently.

What has been your favourite moment in your role so far?

My favourite part of my role so far is learning about the job, including going out on visits with experienced staff and seeing how we work as a team to help business with fire safety legislation.

For anyone with a neurodivergence looking to join WSCC, what would you say?

Don’t be afraid of saying you have neurodiversity, as so far, they have been supportive and willing to help. It doesn’t mean you can’t do your job, it just means you need to do it differently.

Last updated:
25 August 2023
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