A PARTIALLY-sighted York man has finally got a job after being out-of-work for 12 months – now he is pleading for other people with sight problems to be given the same chance.
Steve Butler, 34, of Tang Hall, had been finding that sight loss was a major barrier to employment, despite having a number of administration qualifications and working in voluntary positions.
He said he was losing his confidence, fearing every time an employer realised he was visually impaired, they would find a reason not to interview him.
But now he has got a six-month paid placement as a Trainee Administration Assistant at York’s oldest charity, the Wilberforce Trust, after being supported by the charity Action for Blind People and its Social Enterprise and Employment Development (SEED) Project.
He said: “I can’t thank the team at Action for Blind People enough for helping me to achieve my objective of gaining employment with the Wilberforce Trust in York. It’s a fantastic organisation to work for. They offer the highest level of support and care for people with a visual impairment.”
A spokeswoman said the innovative SEED scheme, which had half a million pounds of funding from the Big Lottery, worked with social enterprises to provide six-month fully paid trainee placements and shorter term work tasters to visually- impaired job seekers.
She said: “This not only gives blind and partially- sighted people the chance to gain valuable skills and confidence, but also helps to break down the misconceptions employers might have about the abilities of people with sight loss in the workplace.
“For the next six months, the SEED project will be supporting blind and partially sighted people in improving their employability, through work experience placements and a programme of confidence building.”
Steve said: “I find it very depressing that the vast majority of blind and partially-sighted people are currently unemployed.
“Having studied and worked at the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford I have experienced first-hand what people with a visual impairment are capable of.”