Employing a person with a visual impairment –
Sight loss does not = job loss
by Daniel Williams, Director, Visualise Training and Consultancy
There are many myths around recruiting someone with a visual impairment! Will it cost lots of money? Would I have to put Braille everywhere? Would the employee need to be guided? Is it going to be safe? How can a blind person use a computer? But in the real world there are many simple, practical solutions that are not expensive to make reasonable adjustments for someone with a visual impairment; it could be something as simple as:
- Offering to meet someone at the main entrance for the interview
- Offer to send documentation via email, allowing the person to access it using their assistive technology
- Changing the font size on a document to a persons preferred font size/style
- Extra time when completing an assessment/examination
- Ask the person “is the lighting ok for you?”
- Offer a guide dog owner water for their dog, equally the person attending may need a drink too!
Looking at these small adjustments the cost equates to zero!
Always discuss with the individual their requirements prior to interview, don’t be afraid to ask, if you don’t ask you’ll never know. Give them the tools to arrive confidently and ready to impress.
A person with a visual impairment will have the same work ethic as a person with vision…….we all have to work! With a few minor adjustments an employee with a visual impairment are fully capable of carrying out their day-to-day duties as they do in their day-to-day life. A person with a visual impairment can be as much of an asset to your organisation as any other employee.
People with visual impairment are employed in all kinds of jobs, some fit in quite nicely to the stereotypes, others definitely do not. Blind people find jobs in all areas, some that suit their abilities or interests. A person with a visual impairment can do almost any job except for jobs that require 20/20 vision such as a Pilot, Cabin Crew, Driving Instructor, Soldier and Police Officer.
A person who has a visual impairment has had to overcome many barriers on a daily basis, inaccessible transport, guide dog refusals, people’s perception, lack of accessible information to name but a few. Resilience becomes second nature, learning to problem solve, negotiating busy roads, routes, areas, remembering landmarks such as shapes of buildings, smells and sounds, it is a capacity you increase over time when conquering barriers, this enables people to become adaptable, make decisions, problem solve and to develop the courage to push through any barriers they are faced with, this skill set will, in turn, inevitably transfers to the workplace. Having a person with a visual impairment will undoubtedly bring strengths to your team that you had not even considered.
Tips for a person with a visual impairment at interview
- Prior to interview, disclose your visual impairment, empower your interviewer to meet your needs.
- Establish a friendly rapport, be first to present your hand to greet your interviewer.
- Knowledge is power, and it is important to self-advocate, to explain your requirements.
- If you use assistive technology, demonstrate it.
- You may be the first interviewee that has disclosed a visual impairment. Be savvy! Sell your skills and your ability.
Technology - How does a blind person access a computer?
As technology has evolved this has opened up so many opportunities for talented people with a visual impairment. We have computer software that will magnify the screen, software that will read all text on the screen, devices that can take photos of documents and read the content. All of this technology will enable a person to carry out their job just like anyone else.
Many people worry about offending a person with a visual impairment by using the wrong language such as “see you later” or “did you watch that program” most people will not be offended by general day to day visual language. Just remember that because someone has lost their vision they will not change their language.
With the passion and drive for inclusion and diversity in the workplace. Visualise Training and Consultancy are a national organisation, providing companies with the tools to recruit and retain employees with a visual impairment.
Visualise carry out holistic workplace and work-based assessments for visually impaired employees in the workplace, to enable an employee to carry out their daily tasks with ease. We can also deliver in-house Visual Impairment Awareness Training courses to enable the team to work effectively alongside their colleague with a visual impairment.
For more information, go to: www.visualisetrainingandconsultancy.com Telephone: 07472 305 268