As you’re probably aware from reading my previous blog entry, I was a member of the Royal Society for Blind Children for 3 years (formerly known as the Royal London Society for the Blind until January 2017), which is a sight loss charity for blind and visually impaired young people under the age of 25. I was referred to the charity by my disability advisor at the Jobcentre in 2013, when I began to lose my sight.
One of RSBC’s core services is an employability programme for 18-25 year olds which provides the opportunity to access career advice, gain employability skills such as interview techniques and CV writing, and work experience.
At first, I wasn’t keen on joining as I believed I was already ‘job ready’ since I previously worked in retail, and I was convinced that it was going to be just like a work programme course at the Jobcentre. However, this was a foolish judgement, as the tremendous amount of advice and support I gained from being part of the employability programme was extremely invaluable.
My previous experience attending job interviews were negative so I held a firm belief that as a visually impaired individual no employer would want to hire me. However, my employability mentor, Evon Hall helped me to challenge my views and develop the motivation and confidence to find work. I attended their employability workshops which I found incredibly helpful; I learnt how to talk about my visual impairment positively to employers, which I previously found difficult to do. I also attended an interview skills workshop with international banking firm Goldman Sachs, which ran at their offices on Fleet Street.
One of the highlights of being on the employability programme was being able to organise a talent show alongside my peers, which was an incredibly fun experience and boosted my confidence in working with others. I also performed a choreographed dance routine with my friends at the talent show which I really enjoyed doing. Moreover, another highlight was a 1 month internship with the Customer Service team at London Trams, Transport for London in 2016. This placement enabled me to develop my marketing and social media skills, and I am proud to mention on my CV that I’ve worked for the organisation.
In conclusion, I would highly recommend the RSBC employability programme to any vision impaired young person in need of career guidance, work experience, or even an alternative to the job centre. You won’t regret joining, and at the end of the programme you’ll feel just like me – eternally grateful to the RSBC!
Interested in joining the RSBC employability programme? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 3198 0225 for more information.
Written by Ray Calamaan