Lost Voice Guy speaks at Island conference
AWARD-winning comedian Lost Voice Guy was the keynote speaker at a packed employment conference at the L’Horizon Hotel yesterday.
Organised by the Jersey Employment Trust, the conference, which was attended by 170 Islanders, is designed to help local employers focus on the abilities, potential and employability of staff with disabilities and long-term health conditions.
Lee Ridley, who performs as Lost Voice Guy, has a neurological form of cerebral palsy and is the first stand-up comedian to perform with a communication aid. He was the winner of this year’s Britain’s Got Talent and 2014’s BBC New Comedy Award.
Mr Lee was interviewed following his keynote speech at the conference by former JEP assistant editor Anthony Lewis, who also uses a communication aid because he has speech aphasia [communication difficulties resulting from a stroke].
When asked what motivated him to perform on stage despite the challenge of his cerebral palsy, he said that it was a ‘dream job’ and that doing it was also part of creating positive role models for disabled children.
‘I have never thought about what motivates me. I have always enjoyed making people laugh, so being a comedian is a dream job for me,’ he said. ‘It is important for everyone to be treated the same. It is only when disabled people are seen and see themselves as the same that society will change.
‘It would be nice for every disabled child to realise that they can do whatever they want to when they grow up but they need great disabled role models to see that it is possible.’
JET executive officer Jocelyn Butterworth said the conference helped employers to understand the value that people with disabilities could bring to businesses.
‘This conference is about promoting abilities and workplace skills and so we are delighted to welcome a speaker who has proved so publicly that having what has traditionally been viewed as a disability isn’t a barrier to using your talents,’ she said. We’re looking forward to hearing from Lee and to welcoming employers, HR professionals and politicians to find out more about JET’s services and the value our clients could bring to their business.’
The JET award for employer of the year went to Amalgamated Facilities Management.