Racing driver Nicolas Hamilton met with a group of young disabled people from East London to talk to them about his career, and to inspire them to aim high in theirs last week (2 October).
Nicolas is the brother of F1 driver Lewis Hamilton and has cerebral palsy, a condition that affects his movement and co-ordination. Because his impairment affects his legs, he races in a modified car with a hand clutch and larger brake pad.
After proving himself to the world of motorsport in just two short years, Nicolas’ ambitions are set high with the desire of one day racing in the Deutschen Tourenwagen Masters (DTM).
Nicolas, 22, visited the Ideas Store in Whitechapel to speak to 12 young disabled people aged between 16-24 who are currently enrolled on a pre-employment course run by the charity Scope.
The First Impressions, First Experiences course covers everything from confidence building to doing a work placement at a business that fits with their career aspirations.
The 26 week programme is sponsored by the Credit Suisse EMEA Foundation and was set up by Scope because young disabled people are far more likely to not be in employment or education than their non-disabled peers, and to fall out of the workplace.
Nicolas Hamilton, who is an Ambassador for the disability charity Scope, said:
“I hope that I can inspire all young people out there to never give up and always follow your dreams. Some days are tougher than others, but you have to keep that determination to push yourself onto the next challenge. I’m proud to work with an organisation like Scope that helps people do this.”
Connor Rodney, 18, from Loughton (pictured) who met Nicolas Hamilton said:
“I’m a huge sports fan and it was the best day I’ve had all year. The fact he has done so well in his career and is the first disabled person in motorsport is extraordinary.
“It’s shown me that that no matter what your disability you can achieve in life – he’s a perfect role model.
“I’m passionate about a career in the entertainment industry, and I’ve been on a few courses in the past to help find a job but this has been the best one for me by far.
“It is run really well and I feel really comfortable around the people in my class.
Guy Chaudoir at Scope who runs the course said:
“If you are a young disabled person you face huge barriers when it comes to work.
“In fact, by the age of 26 you have four times less chance of getting a job than a non-disabled person.
“Our course is about supporting people properly to reach their career goals – and making sure the young disabled talent that we have here in London doesn’t go to waste.”
“I’m feeling really motivated to take the next step in my career.”
The course is open to disabled people aged 16-24 who live in Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham. For more information or to apply for the course, call 07807 799 928 or email email@example.com.
Scope works with disabled people, of all ages and their families, across England and Wales. We offer practical, everyday support and deliver campaigns that can change lives. Our vision is a world where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else. Together we can create a better society. www.scope.org.uk