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Latest Government Employment Figures Mask True Rate of Unemployment for Blind People

CARDIFF, 15 November 2017: Today’s Government Employment numbers do not tell the true story of unemployment faced by blind and partially sighted people across the UK, said the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). Despite the UK labour market rate of unemployment in the UK has held at a four-decade low of 4.3 percent [1], blind and partially sighted people remain excluded by Britain’s employers. Only one in four blind and partially sighted people of working age are in paid employment [2].

 

To help redress the imbalance, RNIB Cymru is hosting the Employers with Vision Conference at the Celtic Manor in Newport, South Wales on Friday 17 November 2017. The conference aims to change employer attitudes and practices towards employing people with sight loss. The event will look at the retention of existing employees who experience life-changing sight loss and breaking down barriers for those with sight loss applying for jobs.

 

John Ramm, Chair of RNIB Cymru, said:

“Too many people with sight loss of working age are not in paid employment; this is not acceptable and must change.


“I hope as many employers as possible will join us for the conference and leave feeling inspired to lead the way in employing people with sight loss. There is a ready-made workforce of people who can do the jobs required of them. More importantly, employing blind and partially sighted people enhances and benefits the entire workplace.”

 

Roy Imeson, ‎Advisor at Heart of the South West’s Construction Industry Training Board, has sight loss. He said:

“I lost my driver’s licence in 2014 due to losing my sight. I continued in the same role for two years, commuting daily, without taking any sick leave.  I was helped greatly by the Government’s Access to Work scheme, which provides practical advice and support to help people overcome work-related obstacles.

 

“It’s a matter of understanding how to change attitudes and policies so employment is accessible for all. This conference aims to do that."

 

Employers already signed up for the conference include local councils, police authorities and law firms. The keynote speech at the conference will be delivered by Ken Skates AM, Minister for Economy and Infrastructure. Sessions will also be led by the DWP, the National Training Federation for Wales, and Chair of RNIB, Eleanor Southwood.