Ben Perry: returning to work after a life-changing event

Ben Perry is a Traffic Engineer at Telent, a role that involves the maintenance of traffic technology for local authorities and National Highways. Ben joined Telent in November 2020, initially as an Installation Technician, before being promoted to his current role.

As a person with a disability, Ben’s approach to the hurdles he’s faced has meant he’s been able to thrive in his role, gain promotion and, in his words, “go out and do what he loves”.

A life changing accident

In March 2018, Ben was involved in a road traffic collision while helping another vehicle involved in an incident.

Whilst travelling on the M42, he saw a car that had aquaplaned and hit a central reservation. Ben, who was a Special Constable at the time, pulled over, put a flashing light atop his roof, and went to help. He then returned to his car to get a torch. At this point, he was struck by an out-of-control vehicle.

Ben's life changed instantly that day. His right leg had to be amputated and spent 23 weeks in hospital. After a long recovery, during which he learned to walk again using a prosthetic limb, Ben returned to work.

Reaching full potential

Ben joined Telent after feeling frustrated at his previous workplace. He wanted to be out on site but was held back and didn’t feel like he was given the opportunity to reach his full potential.

“At Telent, I’ve been given the chance to go out and prove myself, use my skills and expertise, and do what I love. Having that opportunity means the world – being in an office isn’t for me.”

Most of Ben’s work relates to traffic signals, but can range from identifying and fixing faults, to carrying out routine inspections and responding to out of hours emergency call outs. Ben has had the opportunity assist Telent’s Transport for London colleagues with the preparation for the Queens Funeral, an opportunity that he was “very proud to have been a part of.”

“Since the accident, I’ve been able to do most manual work that’s required of my role”, says Ben. “Understandably, I can’t do everything the way I would’ve before, but I don’t let that get in the way. I drive an automatic van, which Telent arranged specially and I’m very grateful for.”

Upon returning to work, adjustments were made to Ben’s uniform to allow him to continue doing the same work whilst accommodating for his prosthetic leg. Custom work trousers were made allowing for Ben to easily readjust the position of his prosthetic leg. A zip at the bottom of his trouser leg allows for quick and easy access, rather than having to remove the trousers.

In the warmer months of the year, the unzipping function allows cool air to pass through without compromising the high visibility of the uniform. This is important as working in heat can cause the liner inside of the prosthetic leg to excessively sweat and rub, which often leads to sores emerging and, in extreme cases, blisters and infections. When this happens, Ben removes his leg to let it dry out. Thanks to the adaptations to his trousers, he is able to attend to his leg without having to stop work to find somewhere suitable to dry it out, which is much more comfortable for Ben.

“You don’t know unless you try”

Ben’s advice for anyone with a disability or challenge in the workplace is to “just go for it”.

“I was always worried what the response would be when potential employers found out I was disabled.

“But in my Telent interview when I mentioned it, it wasn’t made out to be a big deal or disadvantage. The response was that it could be accommodated for without inconvenience, which put me at ease and massive weight off my shoulders. I knew I could do the job as well as anyone, so it was a great feeling to be given the chance and opportunity.”

Since his interview at Telent, Ben felt like he was given the same opportunity anyone else would’ve been given.

“I’m really grateful to everyone at Telent for welcoming me into their family and for the support that has been given to me by management and my colleagues. One of the best things about working for Telent is that there are always opportunities to grow and better yourself.”

Ben has continued to thrive in his role at Telent, as well as making a return to volunteer policing.

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