We often read the troubling statistic that only 27% of people registered blind or partially sighted are currently employed. With this in mind, we joined with Vision Foundation to bring together the skills and contacts that our young people need to combat this inequality and succeed in the workplace.

See My Skills: How to Land Your Dream Job addressed a range of topics that we know are barriers to finding work. These included navigating the Access to Work scheme, finding work experience, receiving the right career advice, staying positive, guidance on how to identify and secure work placements, the importance of self-advocacy and building office tech skills.

We wanted to provide a forum to discuss the practical realities of job seeking for visually impaired young people as well as hearing aspirational stories of resilience and success in the workplace.

We hope you find the following recordings from the sessions informative and the stories encourage you to seek your own dream job!

Welcome message from LOOK CEO Charlotte Carson and Olivia Curno CEO of Vision Foundation.

Lucy Edwards in conversation with Chris McCausland.

This action-packed conference kicked off with a fun and insightful Q&A between comedian and actor Chris McCausland and presenter/journalist Lucy Edwards.

They discussed Chris’s rise to fame, the impact of his vision on his career and the life hacks he’s learned over the years. He stressed the importance of getting the right support at the right time and being armed with enough information to better understand and navigate different environments.

Top Tips

  • People are keen to ensure diversity and inclusion, so be brave and vocal enough to challenge any assumptions and preconceptions about you and ask for what you need.
  • Get a bedrock – be that a degree, qualifications, or any other route that enables you to get a backup career plan and life experience.
  • Don’t be put off by your own preconceptions of what certain jobs are like. Learn about the job you want, the environment and adapt.

Watch the Q&A session here:

The breakout sessions

Writing the perfect CV and honing your interview skills.

Panellists: Jurgen Donaldson, Talent Acquisition and Recruitment Specialist | Naqi Rizvi, Banker | Ussud Ali, Student.

The aim of this resource is to learn about the journey of securing employment; the application process, building your CV and mastering interview techniques.

It also focuses on how to be resilient, the mindset you will need to secure your first job and deciding when to disclose your visual impairment.

To watch the recording and access the list of resources compiled by our speakers please click below.

Organising Work Experience, Volunteering and Careers Advice.

Panellists: Callum Russell, Founder – Crystal Eyes | Saima Akhtar, Employment Coach | Tara Chattaway, Head of Education – Thomas Pocklington Trust | Jess Clements – Blind in Business.

The aim of this resource is to offer advice on looking for work experience, how to deal with knockbacks and how to get the most from your appointment with a careers advisor.

Our panel reflects on their own experiences discussing self-advocacy skills and building confidence.

To watch the recording and access the list of resources compiled by our speakers please click below.

A Foot in the Door with Disability Placement Schemes.

Panellists: Elin Williams, Volunteer Development Coordinator | Kevin Satizabal, Production Trainee – BBC

The aim of this resource is to hear from young people who have taken part in a Disability Placement Scheme.

The discussion covers the different types of placement schemes, if you need qualifications or specific skills, the process of applying for a scheme, what it’s like to be on a placement scheme and the kind of opportunities it leads to.

To watch the recording and access the list of resources compiled by our speakers please click below.

Building Your Tech Skills.

Panellists: Sidney May – Mentor Project Officer – LOOK UK | Matt Johnson, Data Privacy and IT Lawyer | John Paul Anderson – Senclude.

Technology is central in today’s workplace environment, so learning tech skills from an early age is critical.

This resource highlights the importance of tech skills in finding work, giving you the information and tools to get the right tech skills needed for the workplace at the right time.

To watch the recording and access the list of resources compiled by our speakers please click below.

Plenary: Self-Advocacy – Real-life experiences.

The final session of the day was a plenary featuring young people talking about their successful routes into work. We heard about roles in a diverse range of industries including property management, software engineering, opera, employment coaching and law.

The legendary radio presenter Peter White (BBC In Touch) was on hand to summarise the important top tips from this session.

Top Tips

  • Self-advocacy needs practice. Rehearse any situation. If it involves practising walking confidently, for example, do this. Try to practice being your best and most confident self.
  • Build your network. Whether it’s through speaking to colleagues or networking in other ways, you will learn so much from others. Listen to them, pick things up, and let them help you.
  • If you need a Support Worker / Assistant, make sure you find the right person for you. They will be working closely with you, so it’s important to find a good match.
  • Self-advocating is the key. Communicate, put yourself out there, make those choices, try things out, speak up for yourself, and know your worth.
  • Self-advocating can be really tricky, especially if you’re new to something or you’re feeling nervous or unsure. So be communicative and know your entitlements. Know the law and know what you want. Only you can know what is best for you.

Watch the Plenary session here:

You will also find a summary of the Conference in an online report. This includes compelling research as to why this conference was so needed, Top Tips from our expert speakers, a conclusion on how our community can best equip itself for the modern workplace and Peter White’s five points for success!

We’d like to thank all of our speakers who gave up their time to share their positive stories.