For people who are blind or have low vision, finding employment can be challenging due to systemic issues like inaccessible workplaces, employer attitudes and unconscious bias, but as Vision Australia client Olga said, it’s all about accessing the right support from the right people.
Olga has low vision and began using Vision Australia employment services because she was struggling to find work.
“It was hard for me to figure out what kind of work I should choose because I didn’t feel like I had as many options as people with sight,” Olga said.
Vision Australia employment consultant Pedro Munoz talked with Olga about the type of work she wanted to do and helped her look and apply for it.
“He helped me to re-word my resume so it read better,” Olga said.
“We also had a few mock interviews where he asked me questions and I practised answering them.”
As a result of the support she received, Olga is now working in the finance team of a disability support provider.
“Most of the work I do is accounting or customer service,” she said.
“I like the fact that I get to communicate with so many different stakeholders in the organisation, including clients, support coordinators, account managers and plan managers.”
Pedro also helped Olga get access to equipment which helps her with her work.
“I received a keyboard that enables me to do my work more quickly and efficiently.
“It is designed so I can press the buttons with only one hand and use the mouse with my other hand.”
Pedro added there is a range of funding options available to help employers provide technology a blind or low vision employee may need and Vision Australia’s employments services team can help businesses and organisations access them.
“Part of the work we do is to make sure the workplace and requirements are suitable for someone when they start at a workplace.
“This could be making sure they have the technology they need or looking at the workplace environment itself,” Pedro said.
Olga has a job she enjoys and her confidence has grown since she began accessing Vision Australia employment services.
Although things are going well for her, she is glad to know she can contact Pedro if ever she needs more support.
“I’m glad I have a person who will support me when I need it.
“If I need some extra equipment, Pedro can help me access it.”
Olga said this is particularly reassuring as the company she is working for is undergoing changes and they will be using new software in the future.
“Also my vision may deteriorate one day and I may need some extra support.”
Thanks to Vision Australia’s telehealth services, the COVID-19 restrictions haven’t affected Olga’s access to employment services.
Her appointments with Pedro are now conducted over Zoom or over the phone, which Olga prefers.
“Because I’m working from home I like accessing services remotely,” she said.
Advice for jobseekers
Vision Australia employment services have changed Olga’s life and she had some advice for others who are accessing this service.
“Make sure you work with the employment consultant who is right for you,” she said.
“Don’t be afraid if things don’t go the way you want them to in the beginning, it’s just how things work out sometimes but it will get better.”
To find out more about Vision Australia’s employment services, you can contact us on 1300 847 466 or at email@example.com