A new project designed to improve employment prospects for people with sensory conditions in Falkirk/Stirling/Clackmannanshire has been launched by Forth Valley Sensory Centre.
This is a much needed initiative as according to RNIB research: “Only one in four registered blind and partially sighted people are in employment, and this hasn’t significantly changed in a generation”. www.gov.uk website reports: “Deaf people are more likely to be unemployed – 65% of working age deaf people are in employment, compared to 79% of the general population. The impact of Coronavirus will undoubtedly make things worse.
In response to these shocking statistics we have set up our project which will be led by Kim Grant. Kim brings a wealth of business experience with her. Blind, partially sighted, deaf and hard of hearing people across Forth Valley will be supported to learn about their employment rights, especially equipment which could help them in a potential or existing job.
Kim will also be engaging with employers to show them the support available for employing a disabled person and to ensure they are in line with the Equality Act 2010.
Kim explained: “The Equality Act is all about making reasonable adjustments to provide a safe working environment for disabled people. Failure to do so is against hr law and can lead to significant fines and problems for any organisation.
“Sadly, at FVSC we know personally of people with sensory conditions who struggle to find employment, and we receive calls from people in work who are losing their sight or hearing and are worried about talking to their employer, fearing they might be sacked.
“We are here to provide advice on the support available, such as Access To Work that means employers can potentially have those adjustments fully funded through a government grant. We will also be working hard with community groups and schools to increase understanding of sensory conditions and how if we all make small changes, such as removing a face mask when speaking to someone who is hard of hearing, we can make the workplace a more welcoming place.”
The project is backed by Agnes Hunter Trust, Chance to Succeed, Falkirk See Hear Partnership and The Alliance Self-Management Fund. It is hoped that post lockdown Kim will be able to undertake group talks and face to face meetings. The Centre will also be working closely with Centre partners RNID and RNIB to incorporate initiatives including Tech For Good and Living With Sight Loss courses.
Kim added: “The Centre has a fantastic resource in the Technology Hub which is all about demonstrating accessible technology and how to navigate the digital world. People with disabilities do not want to rely on benefits, they want the chance to show what they can do and contribute to their families like anyone else. We hope this project will encourage job seekers, employers and employees to make sure they have a safe, productive workspace.”
If you would be interested in speaking to Kim about the service or to request a talk at your organisation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01324 590 888.
You can find more information online at www.forthvalleysensorycentre.org or follow us on Twitter/Facebook @FVSensoryCentre