Emma Muldoon in her Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV)

Working with a WAV

My name is Emma, and I’m a disabled writer, content creator, and accessibility consultant. I began my writing career by sharing my travel experiences as a full-time powerchair user on my blog (Simply Emma) ten years ago. What started as a writing hobby in my spare time while I was in full-time employment has developed in ways I never expected, and these days I’m travelling across the UK in my wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) as a self-employed freelancer.

How my WAV supports me to work

A big part of my job involves travelling. Being a Motability Scheme customer for almost twenty years has given me access to various Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs). These vehicles have helped me a lot. They let me keep working, try new things and take on new opportunities that would otherwise be hard without my WAV.

My WAV gives me the freedom that public transport cannot

My job changes from week to week. Some days, I go to meetings and work events. Other times, I’m on long road trips, visiting different places to review the accessibility of hotels, event spaces, and transportation. My WAV gives me the freedom to do this comfortably and on my terms. I can work at times that suit me depending on my care needs, health, and workload for that day.  

Relying on public transport for work and meetings would be stressful for me. I do not have easy access to a bus stop or train station from my home as it’s quite far away and the pathways are not accessible. 

My WAV gives me independence to travel for work  

Having a WAV has allowed me to go for a job I love and take advantage of exciting opportunities in Scotland, which is where I live. It also means I can take opportunities across the entire UK. This is possible because I can easily store my equipment in my WAV while I travel. It’s especially crucial because I depend on my mobile hoist when I travel for work.  

Without my WAV, my work options would be limited to closer to my home. I would have to carry my heavy equipment on public transport, which would be hard. Or, I would have to spend a lot of money to rent mobility equipment when I get to my destination.

Emma at photoshoot for work

My experience finding work with a disability

Like many disabled people, finding and maintaining work has been difficult. There have been many challenges and barriers to work around. It took me two years to find a job after finishing university. I applied for countless jobs and went to a handful of interviews during that time.

It was difficult to stay positive and motivated when I kept getting rejected. It’s tough to do, but it’s important to try and use the rejections as motivation to keep pushing through and get to where you want to be. 

Thankfully, after fifteen years, various adaptations, specialist equipment, and changes to my work pattern, I still work for the same organisation alongside my self-employed work.

Challenges and barriers to work

Not everybody with a disability or chronic illness can work, and not everyone who can work will experience the same barriers. But for me, those barriers did not end once I found employment. That’s why accessibility and independence are important for me and many others who are working with a disability. 

There were many things to think about. I had obstacles to overcome. I needed reasonable workplace adjustments to help me do my job. I also faced challenges getting ready for work. Commuting and navigating the workplace as a wheelchair user was difficult too. 

Employers must make changes to help disabled workers do their jobs. If employers cannot pay for these changes, there is a government program called Access to Work. This program can give money and support to help disabled people at work.

To find out more about working while claiming PIP, read this helpful guide.

How the Motability Scheme supports me

My Motability Scheme vehicle gives me the freedom and independence to go wherever I want, whenever I want. It also gives me hassle-free motoring with the full lease package. All the insurance, MOT, and servicing are taken care of, so I never have to worry about those things. 

Like the time when my WAV broke down on the way to the airport to catch a flight for a work trip and the RAC Motability Assist arrived within 25 minutes. Also, whenever I’ve needed a temporary replacement vehicle or new tyres, the Scheme has always had me covered and back on the road in no time.

You can read more about me and my travels on my blog Simply Emma.

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