Debbie Nash feels her life has taken off now that she has a steady job and is involved with a user group
I have a job as a school dinner lady. I have had two jobs. The first was in a shop. It was the British Heart Foundation. I checked clothes, put the prices on and stapled the tags on. I enjoyed working there every Friday. I stopped because it was difficult to get there. So then my social worker found me a job at Croeseceiliog School and I had an interview.
I was very happy when the school telephoned to tell me I had got the job. I work four days a week from 12.30pm to 1.45pm. My job is to wash dishes and trays, to wipe the tables down and to sweep the floor.
It is important that I remember to be on time and to clock in, to make sure that I have my uniform and that I wear it, to make sure that I am clean and tidy, and remember all the health and safety rules like wearing proper shoes. I also have to remember to be polite to everyone and to remember to listen to the boss Amanda and to the jobs she asks me to do.
Having a job has made me independent. I do things for myself that I could not before like walking to and from the school, and now I have learned to catch the bus to get home. What I like about having a job is the people I work with, the other ladies are helpful and kind. I like getting paid, I have a bank account and because I have my own money I can do what I want.
My sister says that she has seen a difference in me since I have been working; she says that I am happy and I am. If I could not work any more I would be upset and it would mean I would have no money. It is important to have a job so people can see what you can do and realise that you can do it.
Last September I spoke at the All Wales People First conference about my job. I felt so proud of myself as it was something I had not done before. I was nervous and could feel the paper and myself shaking. But I felt that I had confidence and it was nice for people to see what I could do. It was being involved with Torfaen People First that helped me to stand out in front of all the people at the conference.
I have heard some people saying that people with a learning difficulty cannot have a job, but I can prove that they are wrong because I have learning difficulties and I do have a job.
In March, Torfaen People First held a conference, the first since it started operating. I ran one of the workshops called, which was called "What I am proud about and things I am good at". I gave my presentation about my job because that is what I am proud about. Then I went around every person in the room and asked them their name and what they were proud about doing. People were proud about lots of things like about getting swimming medals, doing well at office work, driving and helping others.
At the end we all enjoyed the conference so much that we decided to have another next year. Debbie Nash has a learning difficulty