We catch up with Rex Mullins who is moving to a new job in the Civil Service with the help of NCBI.
27 year-old Rex Mullins is on top of the world. He and his wife of two years have a baby on the way and the recent confirmation that he has been accepted into the Civil Service couldn’t have come at a better time.
“I am overjoyed, it’s going to be a year to remember for all the right reasons,” says the go-getting Dubliner who was diagnosed at 15 with Lebehrs Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. “It came on rapidly in both my eyes and while it was a shock, I determined there and then not to let it get in my way, I just wouldn’t let it get the better of me.”
Rex says that he adjusted and adapted as, “I loved doing the things I was doing and I wanted to continue living my life as best I could. I did all I could to ensure I would continue just the same as ever in so far as possible.”
Some of the things that Rex loved doing included acting and writing and he has tread the boards in a number of plays at Smock Alley Theatre as well as participating in re- enactments on TV3.
During his student years he says he found ways of getting help and support when undertaking exams, and made use of any visual magnification aids and scribes to help him.
The NCBI was invaluable in this area, he says, both for hints and tips on what was the most useful equipment for him, and offering support in his quest to secure work.
A fantastic help
“Denis Daly, who works as the Employment Advisor in NCBI was a fantastic help to me. He pointed me in the right direction and let me know that I did have rights and I did have a future, and I could get work. He always said to me, ‘just be yourself and don’t give up, there is hope’.”
Rex says that the NCBI also helped him get part time temporary work previously with the Department of Finance, as well as work on the switch in NCBI’s head office in Drumcondra.
High unemployment rate among people with sight loss
And so, while he was mindful of the very high unemployment rate amongst people with sight loss, Rex says that he was adamant that he could buck the trend and refused to allow himself “go under it and become just another statistic.”
“It really saddens me that there is such a dismal unemployment rate amongst people with sight loss. Employers have to sit up and take notice of us and they have to give people a change. Technology and other advances continue to really level the playing field for visually impaired people, so there is no excuse any more. If employers don’t know what we can do, then they can find out, they owe it to themselves to find out. They are missing out on prospective excellent employees who will prove themselves tenfold.”
That said, Rex feels that people with visual impairments have to “Get out of their own way. I know it’s not easy but it does get easier the more you try. My advice to others is just do it! Get up, and get out and learn the skills to build the confidence you need to make your lives better. You can do it!”
Rex says that he can’t wait to get in and get working full-time with the Civil Service. “I will now be financially stable which is brilliant, especially with the baby on the way. I am so excited about it all.”