Niamh, Private Secretary
Edinburgh | Moderately deaf | Two hearing aids
I work for the Scottish Government as a Private Secretary for the Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills. My job is to organise the Minister’s day to day life. It can involve a whole range of tasks, including co-ordinating a very busy diary, to meeting all kinds of people all over Scotland, and visiting companies from different sectors. I love that in my job, no two days are the same. You learn something new every day. The days can be long, but rewarding when you go out and visit places that the Scottish Government have helped. Some days I am in the Scottish Parliament, other days, I am as far as Shetland.
My employer was keen to help me in any way they could, and made adjustments including buying Roger Pens for large meetings and events, and a specialised phone, which flashes. It helped massively in a busy office as I could never tell if it was my phone ringing or someone else’s.
I have private (not NHS) hearing aids that connect to my iPhone. I am able to take calls straight to my hearing aids, which has improved the quality of the sound greatly. I can also use my iPhone like a radio aid; I put it in the middle of a meeting, and it picks up the sound and sends it straight to my hearing aids. It means I don’t have to explain how to use a Roger Pen to hearing people. I use my work iPhone to set up conference calls for the Minister. It is handy when I am on the move, as it connects wirelessly to my hearing aids. Before, when I held the phone to my ear I struggled with background noise. I also have an app for my hearing aids, which allows me to control noises such as printers and TV’s, but not people’s voices. This is handy given I work in a open plan office. The technology in my hearing aids feels current and I can keep up with my busy working life. It allows me to be able to better communicate with the Minister and my colleagues. I find myself asking ‘what’ a lot less, and I am not stressed as much.
How I got here
I left High School and went straight into a Modern Apprentice within the Scottish Government. That was 7 years ago, and I have been working my way up ever since. It gave me on the job experience, and also a business and administration SVQ level two.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and know what you are entitled to when you ask. Stick to what you believe you are entitled to, even when it feels there are many barriers. Don’t be afraid to ask plenty questions! Learn from the people around you.