The Inclusive Employment Project was commissioned by TAVIP during 2020 and 2021 to support a group of visually impaired people into work by providing bespoke training and mentoring on topics such as job searching, preparing a CV, developing confidence and interview skills, as well as specific support to help people develop the IT skills they need in the workplace. We were delighted to work on this project with VIDA Training and with Gary Eady.
The project was really successful, with many of the group getting into paid work, and we are now working with a number of partner organisations to see how we can provide further support to help visually impaired people into work.
Over a 12 week course they worked with 9 people with vision impairments. The 20 sessions focused on ensuring people were aware of their existing skills, current expectations throughout both the recruitment and employment process and providing IT sessions to enhance their current skills.
Throughout the course, as well as group sessions, we also ran some sessions with individuals, focusing on their individual requirements with regard to employment. We also provided additional individual support outside of the sessions.
At the end of the course, 4 people had gained employment and one a volunteering position. In addition, 75% reported feeling more confident about seeking work, 75% reported an increase in both an awareness of their own skill set and an increased confidence in their own abilities, 92% reported having developed greater employment skills and 100% felt more aware of the support that is available to them.
We strongly believe that this success could not have been achieved without having facilitators with both experience and personal knowledge of vision impairment who could foster and encourage peer support in a relaxed environment. This experience and training style enabled people to recognise their own skill set as a positive, enabled the gaining of new skills and garnered a growth in self-confidence and self-belief.
In conclusion, we would like the participants quotes to speak for the success of the course:
“I particularly like the informal, chatty style of the course. Participants are actively encouraged to ask questions and bring their own experiences to the sessions. I like the peer support aspect of the sessions, and hearing the experiences of others gives you a sense that you’re not alone”
“Unless you have been through the experience of applying for a job when you are visually impaired or supported somebody who is visually impaired, you do not have the knowledge of what it is like and what it feels like.”
“There was an understanding of the frustrations and emotions which can accompany the road to employment and in the workplace”.
“I just wanted to let you know that earlier today I received a job offer…Once again thank you for facilitating the course and for giving me the knowledge and confidence to feel able to apply for a role which, to be perfectly honest, was probably out of my comfort zone”.