This week’s blog has been written by our new guest blogger Holly Tuke, the award nominated disability and lifestyle blogger behind the successful blog Life of a Blind Girl.
10 Tips on looking for a job when you have a visual impairment
Finding a job can be difficult, even more so when you have a visual impairment or any other disability, but it can also be very rewarding knowing that you have got over many hurdles.
I have a visual impairment myself and I am registered as blind as I have no useful vision so I know what it can be like to find a job when you have a visual impairment.
I graduated university in 2017 so getting a job was constantly on my mind, as I knew that I couldn’t do basic jobs such as working in a shop, pub/restaurant, cafe or those sorts of things to just tie me over. I was working for a visual impairment charity whilst I was in my third year of university for a few hours a week so this was something to do whilst I was looking for a graduate job.
I don’t think I was fully prepared for how difficult it was going to be, I knew that it would be hard but I don’t think that I was fully prepared. I even considered changing my career path or going into postgraduate study.
Nevertheless, I managed to get myself a job in November 2017 which I absolutely love. So, I want to share 10 tips with you on looking for a job when you have a visual impairment.
1. Know what field you want to go into
This is so important whether you have a disability or not, but I’d say that it is key when you have a disability as you can look for jobs in that specific field.
2. Look on job websites
Websites such as Indeed,Total Jobs and The Guardian Jobs are some examples of websites where employers advertise job vacancies. They are fully accessible as well which is a bonus.
Check local websites as well such as your local paper, colleges, schools, the local council or universities for employment opportunities. You would be surprised how many jobs are advertised on such websites. You can often receive email alerts when new job vacancies are listed on websites, these are very useful to have.
3. Communicate with people you know
This can be very daunting and you often feel rude doing this, but if you know someone that works in the field that you want to go into then it can be a great way of finding out about employment opportunities.
4. Make use of services available to you
Making use of services can be a great way of looking for jobs and receiving career advice, services may include the RNIB Employment Line or services in your local area.
5. Contact employers directly
If you are looking to work within a specific company or organisation then contact them directly or look for a jobs section on their website. They may provide you with useful information on how to find out about job vacancies within their organisation.
6. Do some volunteering
Many charities and organisations are often looking for volunteers, this can be a great way of getting experience for your cv, gaining new skills and volunteering is sometimes the steppingstone that you need to get a job within a specific organisation. Nevertheless, volunteering is very rewarding and looks great on your CV.
7. Know your CV
Not all employers accept CV’s, so you might have to fill out an application form to apply for a job. Knowing your CV can make this process easier. If employers do accept CV’s then make sure you taylor your CV to fit the job that you’re applying for.
8. Ask for documents in an accessible format
You can’t apply for a job if documents aren’t in an accessible format, don’t be scared to ask for them in an accessible format, most employers are happy to do this. At the end of the day, you deserve a fair chance like everyone else.
9. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do
When looking for jobs, you may often come across jobs that you think you can’t do because of your visual impairment or other disability, but there are so many jobs that you can do.
As a blind person, one question that I often get asked is ‘what jobs can blind people do?’ And the list is practically endless. Obviously, there are limitations and there are certain jobs that we can’t do, but there are far more that we can do.
10. Don’t give up!
I think that this is the most important piece of advice that I can give, it can often feel disheartening, upsetting or frustrating when you are faced with disappointment when looking for work but it is very important to not give up and feel discouraged. Determination, dedication and hard work will pay off in the end!
Those are a few tips that I can offer about looking for jobs when you have a visual impairment or another disability, I hope that they have been of use.
Seable has been on an incredibly exciting mission for the last 3 weeks to our new destination; Thailand.
The team from Seable that went on this journey was myself Emma, Holiday Tailoress and CEO Damiano La Rocca. We set out on this trip with one mission…..TO COME BACK WITH AN EXCITING ACCESSIBLE HOLIDAY THAT WE CAN OFFER TO THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED. I, myself could not wait to get started and show all that we had to offer upon our return.
So here is the third and final part of our trip to Thailand:
After making eggs for breakfast we said our goodbyes to the owners who had made us feel so welcome and started the 3-half hour journey back to Chiang Mai. On the way, we stopped for food at a village restaurant and had local Thai dishes and watched the storm that was happening outside. It was a great day for ravelling as it rained all day. We eventually arrived at our destination and had the afternoon free to explore the city of Chiang Mai. It was a massive city with lots to explore including a blind Thai massage place. This of course was something that we had to go to and it was brilliant.
Picked up at 6.30am we went in a mini bus with the company Dumbo and we drove for 1 hour up into the mountains of Chiang Mai to see elephants. It was my most favourite part of the trip, they were free and happy and it was an absolute privilege to get to be near such fantastic creatures. It is something that we would absolutely love for our clients to experience. We did half a day trip, which we felt was more than enough time to get to see the elephants and they also provided a yummy lunch before they drove us back to our accommodation.
After packing up and freshening up we made our way to Chiang Mai train station and said bye to Jimi who was a brilliant tour guide. He was so knowledgeable and attentive during the whole trip. We then boarded the overnight train back to Bangkok.
Arriving early in the morning we were met by a member of Nutty adventures team who took us to the Hotel De’Moc which was a lovely surprise. We had a free day to rest and then get ready to meet everybody to start the Southern part of the trip.
So, we spent the day resting by the beautiful hotel pool, getting excited to meet the group later that evening. We met them all at 6pm and they took us for a lovely local meal that evening and it was a great way for us all to get to know each other. We all went to bed very excited knowing that the next day we get to explore southern Thailand.
Overall I think that Northern Thailand was fantastic with so much to offer to everybody. It is very accessible in many ways and I can’t wait to bring clients to Thailand. It was a trip of a lifetime and one that I believe many would find it hard to beat.
For any other travel advice or guidance, feel free to contact us and to learn more about our active accessible holidays, click here.
Travelling with a disability is never an easy task. That’s why public transports should be on the forefront of helping out. Unfortunately it seems this is not always the case.
Southern Rail’s cuts
Southern Railway train
This week we got very concerned upon hearing how train companies in the UK are scrapping help for disable people; especially Southern Rail, that is quietly cancelling ‘guaranteed assistance’ from 33 stations.
Transport for All, which campaigns on behalf of disabled passengers, said the company have scrapped their ‘turn up and go’ access at dozens of stations.
Before the change was announced, train maps specified the stations where those needing assistance could turn up and travel.
Now, the maps on the trains say that if such passengers do not book help in advance, ‘there might be a significant delay to your journey’.
A spokesman for Transport For All said: ‘Whether it’s assistance failing to turn up, inaccessible platforms or a lack of accessible facilities on trains, what is clear is that our railways are failing disabled and older passengers.
‘Now, to make matters worse Southern Rail have announced that they are withdrawing turn up and go assistance from 33 stations across their network.
‘This is clearly a huge backwards step for accessibility.’
On the other hand, a Southern spokesman said: ‘Passengers do not have to book assistance before travelling with us.
‘We only recommend this to ensure we have staff prepared with ramps or that alternative travel is in place if a station is not accessible. Our priority is to have an on-board supervisor on services which previously had a conductor.’
‘In the exceptional circumstances when this is not possible, we have a clear, robust process to ensure passengers with accessibility requirements are assisted to complete their journeys.’
Travelling with a Guide Dog on Public Transport
After hearing about these cuts by major Railways companies we scanned the web where we found some other very interesting first person accounts about difficulties of travelling on public transport, in this case we report an informative account on the difficulties of travelling with a guide dog from Patrick Robert, from Lambeth, who is blind and uses his guide dog Rufus to travel around London.
Travelling in London can be a real challenge for people with a visual impairment. Back in 2009 I registered as severely visually impaired (Blind). Since then I have had to adapt myself to the transport network and change my habits. Every time I travel around I’ve got the support from Rufus my guide dog.
This change in my life was not always easy. As a result I joined Transport for All in order to get advice and support when using the different public transport modes. “Lack of communications is one of the biggest challenges I face.
I often struggle on buses: when you’re speaking to a bus driver they don’t always verbally respond, but probably do a sign which I can’t see. I have had also some bad experience with bus drivers not stopping at the bus stop but a few meters away. Obviously if a bus driver does not stop in front of me, it makes it impossible for me to discuss with them and check the bus number.
On the Tube I had a lot of issues following the closure of ticket offices, making it harder for me to find staff to assist me. I need staff in order to travel safely and I need to find them as soon as possible to avoid being targeted by the general public.
Lack of communications is also an issue with taxis. Once I booked a taxi and told the operator that I was travelling with my guide dog and the driver should ring my doorbell when they arrive. I received a telephone call from the operator telling me that my taxi had arrived and was waiting outside for me. I reminded the operator of my earlier instructions and asked how I was supposed to identify the taxi outside?
Five minutes later my doorbell rang as I opened the door the driver was already heading back to his taxi.
Locking my front door, Rufus and I walked up to my front gate, only to hear the driver say he cannot take the dog. He proceeded to rant and rave about dogs not being allowed in his taxi. I told him I had advised the operator that I was travelling with a guide dog and he needs to have a go at them and in the meantime I need to get to this council meeting. I could hear him talking on his phone saying he was not prepared to take me. At this point it had started raining and I said to him he was breaking the law by refusing to take us.
That seemed to subdue him for he assisted me and Rufus into his cab and during the journey he kept apologising saying his custom and culture does not accept dogs and his company knew this. I told him it is against the law to refuse access to guide dog owners and their guide dog.
On another occasion I booked a minicab and told the operator that I was blind and the driver needs to come to my front door and ring my doorbell. The phone rang; it was the driver saying that he could not find my property. I gave him specific directions to my home from the location he described to me. Five minutes later, he rang back and asked me to come outside so he could see where my property was and I could see where he was?
I walked outside and waited about ten minutes and then went back in to find four messages on my answer machine from the driver saying he could not see me; he could only see a guy with a white stick, am I anywhere near him? I called him back and told him I was the guy with the white stick.”
The interview with Patrick Robert has been taken from the inews.co.uk (https://inews.co.uk/essentials/news/travelling-disabled-person-taxi-drivers-try-refuse-take-guide-dog-i/)
For any other travel advice or guidance, feel free to contact us and to learn more about our active accessible holidays, click here.
Have a taste of your disabled holidays with Seable, discover how could it be through some of our client’s reviews.
We don’t sell products: our aim is to provide the most valuable experience supported by passion and enthusiasm, believing that our disabled holidays can offer a wide range of exciting activities in order to make your trip unforgettable.
Olga, 22, a partially sighted lady from Milton Keynes, England said: “Thank you for such a wonderful experience and everything that you have done for all of us while we were in Sicily. It is because of you that I tried so many new things. Your support, encouragement and humour in various activities has helped to make this one of the best weeks in my entire life. You have worked SO hard to ensure that everyone had not only a good time and learned about Sicily, its culture and history, but also tried something new. What you do is amazing. Keep it up. You are spreading so much joy and encouragement and I hope that your company will continue to grow. Hopefully see you again soon!”
Moreover, thank’s to our team, primary composed by local guides, you can deeply connect with the essence of your destination: “Amazing experience in Sicily. Some unique activities you wouldn’t find on a generic holiday package. As well as really friendly staff who have grown up in Sicily, which allows them to give great info on the best hidden places to eat and some knowledge on local history / sights you may want to see.” Daniel, 25, a partially sighted young boy from London said.
Rachel, 23, a partially sighted lady from Birmingham, England said: “The Seable team are amazing and very understanding, they knew the best places to take us in Sicily. A few activities we did such as; scuba diving, walking up Mount Etna, honey tasting, olive oil making and visiting an organic farm, were only some of the brilliant experiences but it didn’t stop there, there was always something we would be doing so there was never a dull moment. The team really do go the extra mile to help you in whatever way you need and are always there for a friendly chat if you need to. Can’t wait for the next trip!!”
Mohammed, 21, a blind man from Blackburn, Lancashire said: “I cannot put into words how good the service is provided by Seable Disabled Holidays. I went to Sicily with them in October and I was extremely satisfied with the five star service that was provided. Damiano and his staff ensured I was completely comfortable at all times. Damiano went out of his way on many occasions to help me and meet my requirements. Seable Disabled Holidays are always prepared to Taylor your holiday to suit you and your needs. All the staff are very friendly and understanding. You do not feel as if you’re disabled because they make sure you are treated as normal and that you get to do what you want. They will fulfil any dietary or religious requirements you have and do everything in their power to make sure you have the best time with no stress. I recommend Seable Disabled Holidays highly. Every excursion that is offered is worth every penny and provides the most authentic experience possible. Don’t take my word for it though, book today and find out for yourself!!”
Tanya, a lovely young daughter of a visually and hearing impaired elderly father from London, said: “Seable and Damiano made it possible to take my visually and hearing impaired elderly father on holiday this year. I could not have done this on my own. They made every effort to make sure we were comfortable and happy. The tour guide Francesco was so helpful with dad and with everything from finding a spa for dad to translating menus. I can’t recommend them highly enough!! Loved Sicily and we will definitely be traveling with Seable again next year.”
We are so proud and happy to hear such lovely feedback, and we want to thank you all for such delicious reviews.
Catania, Sicily is certainly not the best accessible destinations in Italy. Is a beautiful and historic town which offers museums and tourist attractions to all kinds of visitors. However, Catania now provides accessible tour operators, accessible trasport and features disability equipments which ensure both seniors and disabled tourists an enjoyable stay on the sunny Mediterranean sea.
When is the best time to book your holiday? Obviously it depends what sort you want, but in many cases the answer is now. If you look at a graph of when people book and research their holidays, an extraordinary change happens towards the end of December every year. Activity soars from its lowest point of the year to its highest. This remarkable shift happens as many of us, bloated and slightly bored by Christmas, with no work to do and cold grey weather outside, start to think about our summer holidays. We may not book immediately, but we certainly start searching the internet for ideas and prices.
The other day we got a chance to catch up with Damiano La Rocca, the founder of Seable, and a graduate of Accelerator’s Hatchery programme. Damiano recently returned to London, having spent a busy and successful summer in Sicily (his homeland) creating unique holiday experiences for Seable’s first customers.
How were you inspired to start Seable?
I was inspired to create Seable by my father’s charity, LIFE (Life Improvement for Everyone), and the lack of financial support it was receiving. LIFE is a charity that runs a scuba diving program for people with disabilities, which my father started when a good friend of his became paraplegic. It started as a rehabilitation scheme and grew, but has been unable to receive funding. I was motivated to create Seable and turn it into a thriving business and use my father’s services as an outlet for one of the vacation activites. Since its inception two years ago, it has seen growth through much planning and preparation. The first time it was in actual operation was this past summer, where it saw much success.
What does Seable do?
Seable is a social enterprise that organizes holidays for disabled people, primarily those that are blind, deaf, or bound to a wheelchair. Seable provides them with transport and accommodation, but what makes Seable unique is how we tailor each vacation to include exactly what the customer wants and for as long as they would like. We provide activities that the person, despite his or her impairement, can participate in; it ranges from scubadiving and jet skiing to cultural excursions. The main goal of the business is to provide an active vacation for the disabled so they can experience something new and different from their norm, and return with a remarkable story and new skills.
Can you describe some of your best experiences this past summer?
This summer, I was able to host 6 small groups for vacations. These groups ranged in size from a singular person to three or four people. One of the greatest I had was with a totally blind Paralympian. After this silver medalist heard of the different activities he could do while on vacation, he signed up! Because of Seable, he was still able to jet ski, scuba dive, windsurf, experience cultural excursions, and even do a 4×4-driving course! These are all things he wouldn’t have imagined experiencing as a blind man, yet was able to thanks to thanks to my business. Because this guy did his first scuba diving certificate in Sicily, he’s gone ahead and pursued four more scuba diving courses in four months! He’s taken this as a new hobby, a new challenge, and he’s already rebooked with Seable for next year, aiming to break the Guinness world record. Through this, I have been able to show that a holiday can actually change someone’slife. When you see a blind person for the first time windsurfing and he’s so grateful for it, and as long as you’re happy because you’re giving something to him that is invaluable.
Enable magazine is an award – winning disability lifestyle magazine that has joined the list of UK organizations that are working towards helping disabled people live a more independent and accessible lifestyle. This magazine is the best source of information for all the latest updates, beneficial news and interviews, and lots of other exciting and interesting features for the disabled community. (more…)
Situated at the southern tip of Italy in the Mediterranean, Sicily is a diverse island of extremes. Its history stretches back more than 3,000 years and as a strategic crossroads for southern Europe, it has the legacy of various civilizations which have influenced its way of life, culture, architecture and cuisine. The island is like a vast museum, a testament to the historic Mediterranean civilizations. (more…)
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