Work, Education and Training

Support for you to continue working

If you’re currently in employment your sight loss does not mean you have to stop working.

Sight loss is considered a disability under equality legislation. Employers are not allowed to discriminate against someone based on their disability. For someone experiencing sight loss, this means that it is unlawful to dismiss someone on the grounds of disability, and instead, requires employers to make changes in the workplace to meet a person’s specific needs. These are called ‘reasonable adjustments’.

You should not assume that you need to resign from your job, as equipment and support is available that can enable you to remain in your current job. If you cannot perform this job anymore, there may still be other more suitable roles within your organisation. It’s important to talk to your employer to discuss the best options. They may also need some help in understanding how they can support you best.

If you’re experiencing difficulties with your work, there are organisations that may be able to help you, such as a trade union (if you have one), RNIB’s Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

How ‘Access to Work’ can help you

The government’s ‘Access to Work’ scheme provides practical and financial support for disabled people in work or starting a new job.

It provides grants towards any extra employment costs that result from a disability, including special aids and equipment, Support Workers and travel to work. For more information, contact the Access to Work Team on 0345 268 8489.

“At the age of 13, I lost what remained of my sight and became totally blind overnight. I was determined that losing what remained of my sight would not prevent me from achieving my goals. I was determined to finish my school and university education and then to get a job. It was however clear that being in the work place would present some challenges, and would require some extra equipment and other adjustments. Finding out about the “access to work” scheme gave me confidence to talk to potential employers about my needs at interviews, as I could demonstrate to them that help was available, and that my sight loss should not be a barrier.

Since leaving university in 1999, I have worked in a variety of jobs for employers as diverse as the BBC, the Civil service and most recently, sight loss charities.

Being in employment means a lot to me as I feel I’m making a useful contribution to society, and am doing my bit.” Angus.

Education and training

Attending a further education college can provide you with the skills to start or change your career. The Disability Employment Adviser at your local job centre will be able to give you advice and guidance on opportunities for re-training.  The following is a link to the support that is provided by Newcastle College Newcastle College