Every year, thousands of young people finish their school or college courses and consider their future in the working world. They may feel nervous, excited, or daunted by the challenges that lie ahead, especially at the moment, when unemployment is expected to rise. But young blind and partially sighted people will face additional challenges. Recruitment processes that aren’t accessible. Prejudice and assumptions about what they can and can’t achieve. Meaning that 40,000 working-age Londoners with sight loss are currently unemployed. It’s a huge waste of skills and potential.
While we all know that everyone has concerns about working and jobs in this covid climate, this is especially worrying for blind and partially sighted people who are more often than not at the end of the line when it comes to employment opportunities. It’s for this reason that this Christmas the Vision Foundation is prioritising making employment hopes a reality for blind and partially sighted people, amidst other vital projects to support people in our communities.
Charlotte (19) wants to be a journalist. Sadly, she is all too familiar with the challenges of finding work with a visual impairment, and more particularly, the lack of understanding about sight loss from others. Despite having her heart set on an apprenticeship in journalism, her schoolteachers told her having a visual impairment would hold her back.
“I’ve been told by a lot of people at my school that: ‘Apprenticeships are very competitive; it’s unlikely that you’ll get one because of your disability…’ It was disheartening to hear the negative comments, but it motivates you to work harder. You want to prove everyone wrong.”
Charlotte felt uncertain about the future but was not ready to give up. She reached out for support and was teamed up with a Vision Foundation funded trainer who was also visually impaired. They worked together on how to make job applications and prepare for interviews – giving her the information she needed to succeed.
As Charlotte’s confidence, knowledge and skills grew, her employment prospects improved. In August 2020, she secured a two-year News Reporter Apprenticeship. Charlotte is thrilled to be one step closer to achieving her dream of becoming a journalist.
Make a lasting impact
We would love to help more blind and partially sighted people enter the world of work, but we need your help. Please consider leaving a gift to help blind and partially sighted people across London find work this Christmas.