Kapil's Story

Kapil Kapur, 45 and from Chessington, Surrey, has a cleft lip and palate. He runs his own database company called Fingertips Intelligence which involves building bespoke databases for clients in the Home Counties.kapil

But building a successful career was not easy when he first started out and he experienced discrimination as a young student. 

As a teenager, Kapil applied to work part-time at McDonalds and would turn up for scheduled interviews only to be told ‘there’s no job going’. It was incredibly frustrating for him and he felt that he was being judged on his appearance.

He then went on to study Mathematics at Warwick University and the completed his postgraduate in Mathematical Modelling from Oxford University. Yet despite his academic success, he still found it difficult to gain employment.

He explained: “When I left university, even though I had done well in my studies, I struggled to get a place on graduate schemes. My initial career choice was an actuarial analyst. I applied to a number of the consulting firms and one said it wouldn’t work because of the way my cleft lip and palate affects my speech. I was made to feel that my face didn’t fit.” 

Kapil eventually got a job with Pearl Assurance as a trainee actuary and ended up being the point of contact for the customer service teams who recognised his ability to explain complex technical insurance terms to customers. 

“I really enjoyed it and it proved that having a visible difference was no barrier to doing a “customer service” type of job.”

 Kapil then decided to switch careers and he moved into IT. He worked as a Business Analyst for a number of IT firms including EDS and Logica who Kapil praises for having an exceptional ability to hire staff on their ability to think differently rather than looks. 

A few years later, Kapil started contracting as a data analyst where he was hired on his technical ability and “it didn’t matter about my face being different”. Kapil enjoyed his work and when he came one of the ‘faces’ of Changing Faces’ new Face Equality campaign in 2008, his colleagues were supportive, often joking about working with a minor celebrity.

In 2008, the contracts started to dry up so Kapil decided to launch his own business. He really enjoys running his own company, especially meeting new people and solving their business problems. 

He said”It’s been a very challenging few years – but I think that my experiences as a teenager helped strengthen my resolve and probably helped me survive in the recession.”

Kapil thinks employers need to look past a person’s disfigurement and focus on their skills and abilities instead.

He explained: “Companies who are interviewing people with disfigurement should understand their point of view. I also think it’s good for people to talk about it. If an employer is equipped from day one about the person’s situation, it’s easier for both them and the employee.”