Minister of state for disabled people, health and work, Penny Mordaunt, has attended a meeting at the Royal National Institute of Blind People’s (RNIB) Edinburgh headquarters to talk about how blind and partially sighted people can overcome misperceptions in the workplace.
The RNIB reports that there are an estimated 8500 blind and partially sighted people of working age in Scotland, yet many employers assume that this group is either difficult or impossible to employ.
During her visit last week (25 October), Ms Mordaunt met staff at Café Tiki based within the RNIB’s headquarters, where half of its employees have sight loss.
However, the director of RNIB Scotland, Campbell Chalmers, stressed: “While the employment rate of those with disabilities generally continues to increase, the rate for people with sight loss has remained at around 29%, compared with 76% for the general population.”
Each year, RNIB Scotland supports around 500 blind and partially sighted jobseekers, helps 70 people secure employment and helps 80 people who lose their sight retain their jobs. It provides them with advice, guidance, training and technology support.
Commenting on the issue, Ms Mordaunt said: “Disabled people can face disadvantage in the labour market, despite having valuable skills and talents to offer. Our disability confident campaign encourages employers to recognise the benefits that disabled people bring to the workplace, while our access to work scheme is helping to fund practical support.”
“Employers now have no excuse not to wake up to the vast talent pool that disabled people represent,” she emphasised.