Vision impaired young people increasingly in work

16/01/2020

A longitudinal transition study’s latest results show improvements for visually impaired young people entering work.

 The study, published by the Vision Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research (VICTAR) at the University of Birmingham and Thomas Pocklington Trust, has followed the experiences of the same group of young people with vision impairment from secondary school into further employment.

Compared to 2017 when just 14 study participants were in employment, 2019’s figures show that the figure has risen to 23.

The study’s findings are not all positive however, with much of the employment being made up of short term or low paid work. Some participants even recounted that they had been refused help at a Job Centre for being visually impaired while others had their ability to work questioned.

Professor Graeme Douglas, head of the department of disability, inclusion and special needs, and co-director of VICTAR commented: 'The Longitudinal Transition Study offers an extraordinary insight into the experiences of young people with vision impairment as they seek employment. It is wonderful to hear of their success which has resulted from their hard work and impressive range of skills, as well as the inclusivity and support of services and employers.

'Nevertheless, the research also exposes examples of some young people facing significant barriers. Of particular concern is the lack of active support offered by some job centres and the low uptake of Access to Work (AtW), a government programme specifically aimed to support disabled people take up and remain in work. This needs urgent attention.'

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This article was written by Optician Magazine.

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Optician magazine is the leading independent, weekly, UK journal for eye care professionals. Since 1891 it has been publishing news, views and analysis on all aspects of the optical profession and business. Find out more at opticianonline.net

Author: Yiannis Kotoulas, Optician Magazine