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Jobs Campaign for Vision Impaired

Monday, 20th October 2014 at 9:52 am
Xavier Smerdon
A new campaign that aims to find more jobs for blind and vision impaired people has been launched.

Monday, 20th October 2014
at 9:52 am
Xavier Smerdon



Jobs Campaign for Vision Impaired
Monday, 20th October 2014 at 9:52 am

A new campaign that aims to find more jobs for blind and vision impaired people has been launched.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is urging business owners to “open their eyes” to the benefits of employing someone who is blind or vision impaired.

The call follows an online poll of the organisation's clients last month, which revealed that 37 per cent of those who are of working age (15 to 64 years old) are currently unemployed, but 91 per cent of these clients want a job, indicating an untapped workforce.

With support from the NSW Disability Services Minister John Ajaka, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT launched its 'Have cane, am able to work' employer awareness campaign.

"Research and employer feedback shows that people who are blind or vision impaired make great employees because they are loyal and determined to work hard and do a good job,", CEO of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, Dr Graeme White, said.

"Despite this and the fact many people with a vision impairment are willing and able to work, they are four times more likely to not have a job than the average Australian.

"Our campaign aims to alleviate common employer concerns including that someone who can't see can't work because they won't be able to get to and around work safely or be able to read emails or use a computer.

"Thanks to mobility aids like the long cane or Guide Dogs, people with impaired vision are able to travel safely to, from and around work, and text-to-voice technology enables them to use computers and read emails.

"Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is calling on employers to give this untapped workforce a chance so they can enjoy the financial freedom and independence the rest of us take for granted."

White said the top three benefits of hiring someone who is blind or vision impaired were;

  • A person with a vision impairment is more likely to show loyalty to an employer, resulting in a lower turnover rate and a lower overall cost of employment.

  • Due to the access challenges they face every day, people with a vision impairment tend to be great problem solvers, flexible and resourceful.

  • People with a disability have lower levels of absenteeism and use less sick leave than their colleagues.

Former Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes, who is blind, has thrown his support behind the campaign.

"I think what is needed is a change of attitude," Innes said.

"Employers should be supported to give people a chance. That's what happened with me and it changed my life. We all have a personal responsibility to help others get the same opportunity.

"Employers should be government funded to do this, but the difficult bureaucracy around that funding should be removed. We should ask employers what they see as problems, and address those."

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT's 'Employers' guide to hiring people who are blind or vision impaired' can be downloaded from http://www.guidedogs.com.au/untapped-workforce.


Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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