Information Officer
Disability Alliance

Information Officer
Disability Alliance

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Antonia C

0.00.03 Hi, my name’s Toni Cuddihy and I’m an Informations Officer here at Birmingham Disability Resource Centre. It’s really quite a broad role. It’s providing the information on various subjects to disabled people, carers and health professionals. This could be how to access goods and services that may already be in the community, such as aids and equipment or holidays that would be accessible to them. As I say, it’s really quite a diverse role but it is all about providing information that will be requested from there.

00.00.39 When I was at school I was considered relatively bright. Enjoyed sports. Personally I wanted to join either the RAF, well the WAF, or the Police Force but my father wasn’t having any of that so I’m afraid it was office life for me. My parents were immigrants from Malta. They came here in 1958 and I was the youngest child of four. And they just were ordinary working class people.

00.01.07 And they bought their own house and later on then had a little Greasy Spoon café, stereotypical stuff. But they always tried to inspire us to do better than they did by pushing us really towards education. So I did what most kids did, I kicked and screamed and eventually got my own way. We compromised, my dad said if you can find yourself a job that I approve of during the summer holidays and something that I feel that you can carry on progressing, then you can leave school. So I appealed the snobbery in him and got myself a job in a solicitor’s office and started there as an office junior.

00.01.48 So to alleviate the boredom of admin work I was doing things like sociology, psychology, media, economic, social history, British sign language. I’d take a course on every year at night school. So that was okay, that kind of appeased me. And then I finished up working for a blue-chip company and I stayed there for 23 years while I carried on paying the mortgage with my husband. And then was made redundant and it was absolutely fabulous really. It was so liberating because I got a decent package, I got over a year’s salary. So then I started being able to target areas of employment that I specifically wanted to work in and I always knew that I was good with people and always felt like I wanted to give something back.

00.02.34 I was lucky enough to get a job here, admittedly through my old skills as an administrator and then a project came up which was advertised for delivering an outreach project. So just did all of that and here I am today as an Information Officer, it’s amazing really.

00.02.056 I’ve just taken up floristry so that’s quite fun actually. I do all sorts of things really, concerts, music, I read. I get quite involved with friend’s kids and things like that, go and watch them play sports. Drinking with my nieces and nephews sometimes. Go to Malta quite a lot when I get the, well quite a lot really. So anything that keeps me really busy.

00.03.29 My dream job would have been welfare rights worker or the poor man’s solicitor, kind of like very romantic working class stuff but somebody always needs somebody to fight their corner for them. I am actually toying with the idea of doing distance learning or an Open Uni degree. I’m not sure. I mean I suppose on a voluntary basis I could do it. As a career option at 53 I don’t’ think I’d probably get that opportunity but you never know.

Antonia C is an information officer at Birmingham Disability Resource Centre. She used her redundancy from an administrative job with a blue chip company as an opportunity to find a really worthwhile job helping people.

More information about Special needs education teaching professionals

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average salary

The UK average salary is £28,758

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

19%  male  81%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment?


Special needs education teaching professionals organise and provide instruction at a variety of different levels to children who have emotional, behavioural or learning difficulties or physical disabilities. These professionals may also work with exceptionally gifted pupils.


Entry is with a first degree that provides QTS (qualified teacher status) or, in Scotland, TQ (teaching qualification); or other relevant degree followed by further postgraduate training (most commonly PGCE – Postgraduate Certificate in Secondary Education, or, in Scotland, PGDE – Professional Graduate Diploma in Education). Additionally, prior experience in mainstream teaching is usually required, and further training for special needs teaching may be mandatory.


  • Creates a safe, stimulating and supportive learning environment for students;
  • Assesses student’s abilities, identifies student’s needs and devises curriculum and rota of teaching duties accordingly;
  • Gives instruction, using techniques appropriate to the student’s handicap;
  • Develops and adapts conventional teaching methods to meet the individual student’s needs;
  • Encourages the student to develop self-help skills to circumvent the limitations imposed by their disability;
  • Prepares, assigns and corrects exercises to record and evaluate students progress;
  • Supervises students in classroom and maintains discipline;
  • Liaises with other professionals, such as social workers, speech and language therapists and educational psychologists;
  • Updates and maintains students’ records to monitor development and progress;
  • Discusses student’s progress with parents and other teaching professionals.
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