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One in five young people with vision impairment not in education, employment or training

A new study has highlighted the need for more support from specialists to help young people with vision impairment find employment

A blind man walking down the street

Young people with vision impairment do not feel ready for work and are not actively seeking employment, according to the results of a new study.

Voluntary work is instead being taken up by young people with vision impairment or no work at all with 21% either not in education, employment or training (NEET) or in long term unpaid voluntary work.

The University of Birmingham has published the results of the study, which was funded by the Thomas Pocklington Trust.

It followed the experiences of 48 young people with vision impairment from secondary school into further education and employment.

Deputy head of school of education at the University of Birmingham, Mike McLinden, said: “The study gives the young people a method of telling us about the challenges they face as they leave school and also to reflect back on what helped prepare them for life after school. The research findings have highlighted the critical role education and families can play in helping them meet these challenges head on.”

The study also found that young people who are NEET are often not signposted to services that could enable them to access the labour market. Those who are employed are often only in short-term and insecure roles.

Additionally, young people with vision impairment are often unemployed for at least a year when leaving university and are returning to education as a result.

The University of Birmingham and the Thomas Pocklington Trust said that the findings highlight a need for more intensive targeted support from specialists with an understanding of vision impairment.

Chief executive of the Thomas Pocklington Trust, Peter Corbett, said: “It is vital that the right support is in place throughout a young person with vision impairment’s life to ensure that they are best placed to secure meaningful employment that is right for them.”

The organisations recommended that a review should be undertaken of the support students with vision impairment receive at university.

They also highlighted that it is important for higher education providers to focus on making adjustments for students with vision impairment so that these students can pursue internships and part-time work.

Image credit: Getty