Chloe, Employer Engagement Apprentice for Talent Match London, speaks about what it’s like be blind and working in the city.
Not may people with a disability are confident going to the job centre. Plus many part time jobs available to young people aren’t accessible. Lots of jobs, such as waitressing and being a shop assistant rely on practical capabilities which limit the amount of jobs someone with a visual impairment can apply for. An additional barrier for me was that I wasn’t computer literate. This meant I couldn’t get an office job as I didn’t have the correct equipment or training to use it.
Looking for a job is hard at the best of times for young people. When I started, I didn’t have any transport confidence. I wasn’t willing to travel far, which is very common amongst people with disabilities. Having to rely on TfL assistance can be nerve-racking at times and many people aren’t confident enough to use public transport. Plus using a taxis everywhere is not a very financially viable solution!
How can we make the world better for people who might need more support?
There are many ways people can support blind and visually impaired people. If you see someone in the street with a disability, don’t be afraid to offer your help. There will always be a minority who are too proud to accept help but most will appreciate that someone has asked. I know my route from the tube to the office so I don’t need assistance but everyday someone asks if they can help, I make an effort to thank them so they will be confident to help someone else in the future.
What changes have you seen in yourself since working at London Youth?
I had always gone to mainstream schools and colleges which meant I grew up in a sighted world. I didn’t know about the things blind people were capable of doing. I didn’t know I could use the tube, I didn’t know about how accessible iPhones were! It wasn’t until I was 21 and started with Talent Match London that I met other young people with visual impairments. I wasn’t independent before. I had to be taken everywhere; I didn’t know any routes by myself. London Youth have been very flexible and supportive. They have made reasonable adjustments so that I was able to learn my route from the tube to the office independently. This in turn has meant I have been able to apply for a guide dog which requires a certain amount of independence.
What advice would you give to others that are looking for support?
Royal London Society for Blind People, a Talent Match London Partner, provide much needed support for young people with visually impairments. There are also social groups- which are useful for meeting similar other young people. Access to Work is one of the best kept secrets, go onto their website and see how they could help you.