Energy Voice | ‘Desperate’ job hunt for Special Olympian made redundant in oil downturn

An Aberdeen Olympian with a rare learning disability, who lost his job amid the oil downturn, has issued a “desperate” plea to find work.

Luke Purdie has been looking for a new role since losing his position in a mailing room in October as a result of cost-cutting in the downturn.

The 24-year-old has a rare form of learning disability which also affects his motor skills.

At the time of his diagnosis at three months old, he was the only recorded case of the condition in the UK and Australia.

After graduating from Aberdeen College, despite his condition, he held down a job in a mailing room at the oil company for three years.

There he delivered mail to colleagues three times a day, as well as entering items into a DHL database.

Luke and his mum Adrienne have now issued a “desperate” plea to find a job for Luke, who is keen to get back to work.

Mrs Purdie said the job helped to improve Luke’s quality of life.

She said: “The oil price came down, jobs have been merged into one. Therefore people with learning disabilities couldn’t do them any longer.

“It gave him a purpose, it gave him a reason to get up.

“He just loved being there and being part of something, being able to contribute and he’s finding that’s not there anymore.”

Luke represented Team GB in the 2013 Special Winter Olympics in PyeongChang in South Korea, coming fourth in an Alpine Ski event.

His mother said that showed his strong work ethic.

She said: “Since he lost his job we have been applying for him but it is very hard for him to do the in person interviews. It has been tough to take.

“It just feels like we’re not on a level playing field.

“Luke wants to work and can’t understand why he can’t get a job.

“Five years ago he took part in the one in South Korea in Pyongyang as part of the British team and he got fourth place.

“A lot of people think it is just about the medal ceremony but actually they have managed to get to the Olympics and that’s an achievement, that’s what counts.

“He is a really faithful worker, is what I realised while he was there and at the oil company.”

Luke currently volunteers at charity Instant Neighbour once a week.

Despite going down various routes to find a job, Luke and his mum have struggled to find work for him with “very little” feedback from employers.

They have now issued a video through a recruitment agency in a bid to raise awareness of the issue.

Luke said: “I’m currently at home trying to get full-time employment. I miss working five days per week, I miss having colleagues to talk to.”

Chris Hull is a communications manager with Team GB’s Special Olympics team, and has worked with Luke.

He said that most of the 1.5million people across the UK with learning disabilities want to find work, but many struggle to get jobs.

He said: “I’ve seen Luke in action, he’s a tremendous Special Olympics athlete.

“It is a challenge and a problem which is faced by a lot of people with learning disabilities across the country and probably indeed across the world.

“It’s a problem that they must not face alone. We must resolve this as a society because I believe that as a country and as a group of people we will never be complete until there’s an opportunity for everybody.

“Particularly people with great skills and gifts to offer and I know Luke falls into those categories.”

Luke has been looking for work in mailing rooms, given his experience.

Anyone interested in viewing his CV should contact Karen Molloy at ThorpeMolloy recruitment – kmolloy@thorpemolloy.com

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