Success Stories

Since we launched the Employment Service over 20 years ago Blind in Business has helped hundreds of people into work and trained thousands of school-age children. Below are a few examples of how we have helped people to start their careers.

picture of Alan

Alan

When I lost much of my sight during my time in the Royal Navy, I struggled to imagine how I could rebuild a career against the various limitations that vision loss entails.

However, almost a decade on, I have progressed to become a senior manager at BT, and along the way was able to study an MBA at UC Berkeley in California and set a Guinness World Record for rowing the Atlantic Ocean. Much of this turnaround is attributed to the help I received from others, notably Blind in Business. Their dedication, expertise and resources are an invaluable aid to any visually impaired person, who not only wants to secure a job, but also wants to reach as far as they can in a career. I'd encourage the VI community to connect with Blind in Business - it may prove the first step on a whole new path in your life.

read more

Channel 4

I have now attended two Blind in Business Education to Employment events and the high standard of candidates we have met has continued to impress us. 

Since we have attended these events we continue to see Blind in Business grads connect with Channel 4 and in some cases secure places on assessment days for our internship and graduate programmes. 

We are very proud of our relationship with Blind in Business.

Simon Deveraux, Channel 4

picture of Daniel

Daniel

I studied Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Bristol and lost my sight at the end of second year. I graduated with a 2:1 and am now working on an Investment Banking graduate scheme in the city. 

I studied Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Bristol and lost my sight at the end of second year. I graduated with a 2:1 and am now working on an Investment Banking graduate scheme in the city. Blind in Business were instrumental in giving me confidence in the face of blindness by advising me on the reasonable adjustments that I was entitled to when going for jobs. Reviewing my CV, having mock interviews and accessing important contacts enabled me to navigate the graduate job market effectively and successfully. Before, my attention at interview/assessment centre was focused around disclosing my disability but BiB liaised with employers for me regarding implementing adjustments and this allowed my focus to concentrate on performing on the day so I could get the best from myself. Large employers nowadays are willing to make their workforces more diverse, and with reasonable work place adjustments and Governmental schemes like Access to Work disabled people can feel empowered and supported to achieve. 

read more

picture of Dipti

Dipti

I first came to hear of Blind in Business through the disability advisor at my University, the School of Oriental and African Studies. I was briefed upon what Blind in Business did but also told of an upcoming 'Education to Employment' (E2E) event that may benefit me

E2E was a great opportunity to meet other blind and visually impaired young people looking to go into top jobs. Over the three days we sat a number of employment related workshops; particularly helpful was interview advice provided by Barclays and practical advice on how to build key competencies needed for the world of work. Since that first event in my first year of University, now four years ago, Blind in Business have provided me with constant guidance and support.

The support that I found the most useful included many mock interviews with different employers, Speed Recruitment and the two Project VIP events. The mock interviews helped me polish my competencies and become more confident at presenting myself in a positive manner. Speed Recruitment showed me how important it was to be able to give off a positive image in a short space of time. Project VIP was a really good event (that's why I went twice!). It gave me a lot of information and advice on how to present yourself, your body language and even your perfume can affect the way interviewers see you. You also get some very handy make up tips!

Other, also important support was more general; application support, CV Support, use of Blind in Business laptops in their offices and advice from staff about University and work.

In my second year, I applied for many finance internships and got rejected from them all. I soon realised that a career in finance was not for me. I went on to look for work in charity or public sector. I left University in 2009 and failed to get a graduate scheme. I had a few temporary jobs, even though I was disheartened I kept on applying. I secured a graduate scheme by the end of 2010 and now am working as an Assistant Economist at the Ministry of Justice.

I think they key message I would like to convey to anyone applying for jobs is don't give up, it may not always be easy, but keep motivated and positive, and you will be successful!'

read more

picture of Ian

Ian

In May 2008, Ian was a typical 20-year-old coming to the end of his second year at Liverpool Hope University where he was studying for a BSc in Environmental Management and Sports Studies. He was planning his backpacking travels over the summer and using every spare minute to play sport and socialise with friends.

In May 2008, Ian was a typical 20-year-old coming to the end of his second year at Liverpool Hope University where he was studying for a BSc in Environmental Management and Sports Studies. He was planning his backpacking travels over the summer and using every spare minute to play sport and socialise with friends. 

However, suddenly he started to notice his normally perfect sight had begun to deteriorate. When using his laptop, images had become blurry and it was getting harder to focus on everyday things, especially when driving. He decided to make an appointment with the optician, even though six months previously he had been told that his sight was perfect and he would not need glasses until he was nearing retirement age.

Having been immediately referred to the hospital, the ophthalmologist thought he might have an eye virus and it was thought that his sight would fully return within ten weeks Ian continued with his plans to travel and left straight after this news and only a week after first noticing the decline in his sight. He believed that this would be improving by the time he returned to the UK and arranged to allow extra time to reduce stress and to aid sight recovery.

On his return in July 2008, Ian knew that something was drastically wrong. Throughout his travels it had become harder and harder to see from both eyes. At this point, Ian realised that it was unlikely he only had an eye virus.

Ian recalls: “When my parents picked me up from my travels, I remember being in the car on the way home and not being able to see the bus immediately in front of the car.”

After further appointments with ophthalmologists, Ian was given the devastating news that he had a rare genetic condition called ‘Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy’ (LHON) and that he was unlikely to ever regain his full sight again.

Ian commented: “I remember crying for much of the journey home from the hospital in the car, but after that I told myself that I had to be positive, something which is a natural part of my personality. I have not changed as a person just because my eyes do not work properly and I’m a determined and motivated individual, so I knew that I was going to try and continue my life as normal.”

That is just what Ian did. Following the initial 2-3 month sight decline, Ian’s sight stabilised at less than 5% vision in both eyes. He returned to University where he was given support and information about Disabled Student Allowances and began using JAWS, the assistive screen reading software supplied by Sight and Sound Technology. He also started to use various other sorts of assistive software such as Kurzweil 1000, which converts word-processed documents into speech through a scanner, also supplied by Sight and Sound Technology. Without JAWS and other assistive technologies, Ian feels it would have been impossible to continue with his studies.

In May 2009, he managed to complete all of his studies in time to graduate with his peers gaining a 1st class degree with honours. Not long after graduating, Ian received assistance from Blind in Business, the UK based Charity providing IT, technology training and teaching resources to help visually impaired or blind people find employment. He was selected to attend their Education to Employment course. Here he gained the knowledge and advice relating to visual impairment, both physical and psychological aids required to cope with his sight loss and was first put in contact with various visually impaired technological specialists Sight and Sound Technology.

As planned, Ian decided to return to University to study for a Masters degree, whilst at the same time planning a 3-month trip for 2010, which involved travelling around South-east Asia and Australia. Both were challenging but nevertheless rewarding experiences for Ian. He gained an MSc with distinction and was able to document and capture his travel experiences.

Software supplied from Sight and Sound Technology enabled both of these experiences to be possible, as without it they could not have even been considered. Through increased confidence and determination to fulfill a lifetime ambition, Ian completed further travelling through many countries including China and New Zealand gaining some fantastic life experiences. This was such a unique experience, which Ian will be able to share with friends and family in the future as assistive technology has enabled him to document his trip.

On his return from travelling, Ian was keen to find employment and Blind in Business were able to help. Dan Mitchell at Blind in Business, was instrumental in this assistance, giving Ian guidance on writing CVs, assisting in filling out job applications and preparing him for interviews. Ian also attended Education to Employment, a residential training course, for 20 blind graduates and 20 employers run annually by Blind in Business. The course gives blind people the confidence to apply for work and gives employers the confidence to employ them based on their abilities, not their disability.

Ian says: “Working with Dan helped enormously in terms of building my confidence, motivation and improving my writing style to suit employers’ requirements.”

Blind in Business were able to assist Ian into the world of employment, offering the chance to operate in an office environment in the City of London. This was as a result of Ian’s successful application to the Metropolitan Police Service in the Directorate of Information, gaining full time employment on their ICT Graduate Development Programme. Ian now uses assistive software such as JAWS in the workplace to be able him to operate effectively. He is thoroughly enjoying employment and has received on site one to one training at his place of work from Sight and Sound Technology’s specialist trainers. This has made him more efficient and has made mundane tasks much more enjoyable. Ian is very grateful for all of the assistance and guidance he has received and believes it has helped him get where he is today.

Ian said: “Without JAWS I wouldn’t be able to do my job, it’s as simple as that. Technology has opened so many doors for me and allowed me to deal with anything that comes my way.”

read more

picture of Matt

Matt

I lost the majority of my sight in 2013. I was lucky enough to maintain my role with my employer however the transition process was really difficult. This was a new situation for both myself and my employer and lots of mistakes were made in terms of the right adaptations being made for me to carry on doing my job effectively. This changed when I found blind in business. I was able to meet them for lunch at their offices a few times a week and talk through the problems that I was having. They were then able to suggest solutions and different ways of doing things around the office using their vast amount of experience that they have accumulated over the years. My biggest regret is that I didn’t find them at the beginning of the process!

picture of Maya

Maya

My name is Maya and I have just graduated from University and am going on to complete my Masters in Creative Writing this coming September.

I first came across Blind in Business during the summer of 2012, just after I had finished my first year of University. I wanted to do some summer work but had tried applying for ‘student jobs’ but with no luck – I was never great at pulling a pint anyway. I got in touch with Blind in Business to see if they could help and from there I did a two week work experience placement with them, which I really enjoyed.

One of my favourite assignments while working at Blind in Business was when I was asked to help present at a talk by Blind in Business about life as a student when you are visually impaired, and the adaptations that can be made to make this easier. The lecturers also made suggestions of what could be done to improve the accessibility of their teaching as well. It was brilliant to hear that University lecturers were willing to adapt their classes and keen to learn what they could do to make them easier to access for those students who have visual difficulties. I also got the chance to meet with and talk to some fo the lecturers who were there about my own experience of being at University and they were able to ask me questions about my time as a student so far. I found it really interesting to hear their views on studying and I hope they found talking to Blind in Business useful too.

I have also gained some administrative experience through working for BIB. I was able to practice writing important letters and emails, answering the telephone and making phone calls, and writing articles and blog posts for the charity’s website. I was also in some of the photographs for the website which was great as I was studying Media and English at University at the time. I did some event planning too, finding contacts and phone numbers for an employment event organised by BIB. I found the admin experience to be confidence building and it gave me experience of working in an office environment.

Being an intern at Blind in Business was and still is a brilliant experience and I have learned a lot working with the team at BIB, which is why I’m now back this summer working for them again. I now understand that employers do want to take on visually impaired people and that having confidence, the right attitude and some relevant experience is crucial when you are looking for a job. I have definitely grown in confidence since working at Blind in Business and working for them has also led to other internships and job opportunities that I would not otherwise have had. I also know that when the time comes to find a job as a postgraduate after being a student for four years, that Blind in Business will be helping me to achieve this too.

read more

picture of Michael

Michael

Blindness, as I found abruptly in 2009 is an incredibly frustrating condition to be saddled with. From the world of education, sport, general day to day living to dealing with the Public's perception, there hasn't been an aspect of life that it hasn't impacted. Blind in Business have stood by my side through five years of the trials and tribulations encountered at university and ultimately were instrumental in securing a job for me as a trainee lawyer at one of the world's largest law firms Ashurst LLP.