Graham Findlay, 48, chief executive of North East Sensory Services (NESS) talks about forging an inspirational career path in the face of disability
What did you want to be when you were young?
Other than the usual of being a star striker for the Dons, I can’t really remember but always loved driving, so a long distance lorry driver probably.
What are the main career stepping stones you have taken?
When I left school with three ‘O’ grades at 15, I was fortunate to get an apprenticeship at Herd and Mackenzie’s shipyard in Buckie as a plater/welder. Four years on, I was able to get a job at McAlpine Humberoak in Inverurie. From there I had a nine month job at Dauntless Engineering in Banff. I had just finished there when I was diagnosed as having the eye condition Retinitis Pigmentosa, which leads to significant sight loss and blindness.
To cut a long story short, I was able to get a two-year fixed term contract with the then Grampian Society for the Blind (GSB) as a social work assistant, thanks to the then CEO Jon Bailey, who in many ways was ahead of his time. I did further training, including training as a social worker, management training and later I was GSB’s first senior social worker.