People with sight loss succeed in a wide variety of jobs across almost all employment sectors. Just like everyone else, it comes down to whether they have the training, skills and experience. There are blind and partially sighted secretaries, car mechanics, nurses, scientists, stockbrokers, MPs, journalists, web designers and teachers. Just like any other worker, they need the right tools to do the job, and yes people with sight loss can use a computer!
Computers have opened up many jobs to blind and partially sighted people. Using a computer largely comprises of putting information into it or getting information out of it. Even with little or no sight, this is entirely possible with current technology. If the person has some vision, as many people with sight loss do, they can use a larger monitor or software that magnifies the image on the screen. If a person has no vision, they can use software to convert text on the screen into speech (using headphones), or braille (using a refreshable braille display). Also, many systems have accessibility features built into them, so they can be used “out of the box”. Employers can get financial help to pay for any necessary equipment. Blind or partially sighted employees will often require some specialist equipment or software to allow them to do their job. However, the government’s Access to Work scheme means that employers may not have to cover the extra costs incurred.
RNIB are offering employers the opportunity to work with them, to become a more inclusive employer for people with sight loss, through aligning your working practices to the RNIB Visibly Better Employer quality standard.
We know the last couple of years have been incredibly difficult for many employers and the months ahead will continue to be challenging. However, we also know that employers who have new job vacancies want the best selection of candidates and depend heavily on the experience and skills of existing staff.
Only one in four people with sight loss of working age are in employment. There are currently 11,000 people with sight loss in the UK who are actively seeking work. Many people also leave work unnecessarily each year due to sight loss. RNIB’s aim is that in helping you to reach the Visibly Better Standard, you will see an increase in the number of blind and partially sighted people who apply for opportunities in your organisation, and you are able to confidently retain existing staff who develop sight loss.
Employing a blind or partially sighted person will send out a message that your organisation is committed to equality. Having a culturally and socially diverse team with a range of different skills and backgrounds will give you an edge in today’s competitive marketplace. So ask yourself; could your organisation become a ‘Visibly Better Employer?’
RNIB welcome employers to get in touch and they can tell you how to get started therefore email VisiblyBetterEmployer@rnib.org.uk
If you’re looking for work, the RNIB website has information and advice to help: Looking for work
You can contact the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or firstname.lastname@example.org