“Just because I have a visual impairment doesn’t mean I can’t work”.
30 year old Amanda Murray from Dublin was born with Coloboma, a genetic eye condition which has led to significant blurring of her sight.
She has to wear glasses and use magnification aids but is adamant that she can do jobs as well as sighted people “once I am given the chance”.
Amanda is currently on a work placement with the Citizen’s Information Centre in Mullingar, where she relocated to some years ago.
“I contacted NCBI when I realised that getting a job was not going to be plain sailing. It was the best thing I ever did. Denis Daly, the Employment Advisor gave me so much confidence and belief in myself. He also helped me practically with CV preparation and tips and hints on how to sell myself and my skills”.
Amanda also found an employment workshop, facilitated and run by Fujitsu, to be very worthwhile. “They are a big organisation and I think this gives out really good signals to others in business. I learned a lot and met a lot of people so it was all good”.
Her current work placement sees her manning the busy reception desk, taking queries and basically any other clerical work that has to be done.
“I love it and I really hope that it lasts and leads on to a permanent job. It has given me belief in myself, a sense of purpose and additional skills and experience. I can now say that I am looking forward to a good rest at the weekends as I feel I have earned it. I really appreciate the weekends now, just like everybody else. I really wish that employers would recognise that while people may have a problem with their eyes, they don’t have a problem as such. Our brains work. I couldn’t tell you just how much I value this work placement, it means everything to me. I would urge others with sight loss who may feel uncertain and fearful around job opportunities to contact the NCBI, they will help enormously. People with sight loss want to work, we don’t want to be sitting around all day ”.
Denis Daly, Employment Advisor with the NCBI says there are lots of supports available for potential employers.
“NCBI is the natural point of contact for employers who want to hire people with visual impairments. We offer a full range of services including advice on available grants, assistive technology and disability training awareness. We assist people with varying levels of sight loss to retain their existing employment or retrain for new opportunities. We work with training institutions and Government services and liaise with HR, line managers and supervisors. Our Library and Media Centre converts written material and text books into Braille and audio formats so there is a whole depth to the help and support NCBI provides. It is often a surprise to employers that people with visual impairments can be so employable and with the advent of, and huge strides in assistive technology, their employability can only improve”.