‘I’m a parent carer for two children – Rowan who is 10 and Maive who is 7 – both are diagnosed on the autistic spectrum. I share the caring responsibilities of the family with my wife and, daily, must balance the demands of a high-profile job with their needs.
Having children with autism comes with a number of key challenges which have really made me change my lifestyle significantly. As well as the regular battles with local authorities to ensure you are getting the best for your family, we are also constantly juggling healthcare appointments and managing transport to get them to and from their specialist schools. Also, most importantly, we are always constantly aware of the individual needs of Rowan and Maive themselves. They have different strands of autism and so really differing daily needs. These challenges pull on me in my working day and my time becomes extremely precious in being able to accommodate everything.
The culture in Jaguar Land Rover is hugely supportive. The business realises that its ‘OK to be different’ and that some colleagues can’t work a normal 9 – 5 days. The change to hybrid working over the pandemic – and beyond – has also helped me fit everything in. The company has been hugely flexible in allowing me to adapt work with my caring needs – but it is a two-way relationship and needs a level of understanding from everyone involved.
Not all disabilities or personal circumstances are visible – there can be a lot going on under the surface in people’s lives – that others may not see or realise. But, as I have found, if you put your hand up and show that you need that flexibility, Jaguar Land Rover will support, empower and trust you to get on with your job in a way that benefits and works for everyone involved.’