Seeing London’s blind community in a new light

first_img whatsapp Opinion Over the past 10 years, employment rates for this group have dropped from 33 to 26 per cent — and just 10 per cent for those with no sight at all.  Alan PickeringAlan Pickering CBE is President of BESTrustees and a Trustee of a number of pension schemes. These include The Plumbing Industry Pension Scheme which he chairs and the People’s Pension. When you’re blind, getting around takes planning, care, and the kindness of strangers. All kinds of unexpected things become hazards, like street furniture and shared public spaces. For example, electric cars are good for the environment, but they’re silent killers if you’re blind.  Consider, for example, what happened with my first job, at British Rail, where new recruits — whether or not they wanted to be a train driver — went through a sight test. I failed, of course. They gave me a job, but said I’d never get a promotion.  Share (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images) Alan Pickering is president of BESTrustees. For more details visit For most of the 200,000 blind and partially-sighted people who live here, a shift in the attitudes of both the public and employers would make the biggest difference to their lives.   This is why I am proud to be a supporter of the Vision Foundation, which works to make London accessible for everyone with sight loss and to reduce preventable blindness. They recently reported that 40,000 blind or partially-sighted Londoners of working age are unemployed in our capital. That’s equivalent to 500 London buses’ worth of wasted potential.  And while London’s multi-modal public transport system is wonderful and TfL staff are great, fellow passengers are sometimes less so. I realise that I’m one of the lucky few, by which I mean blind and partially-sighted Londoners who have a job. Doubly lucky because it’s a job that I love. But of course, it’s not the same for everyone. Monday 20 January 2020 4:28 am We’re living in a tight labour market right now. Recruitment is already a challenge for businesses, and it is likely to get even more so in these uncertain times. If ever there was a time to be focusing on what can be done to bring greater diversity to the workplace, that time is now. This is a heartfelt plea from me and the Vision Foundation, asking employers to consider how their businesses can benefit from the unused human capital in our capital.  I was partially sighted when I arrived in London. My sight continued to deteriorate, and by 30 I was blind. However, I have been able to enjoy an endlessly fascinating career and the many things that this great city has to offer. center_img This is something that the Vision Foundation is committed to changing, and I’m proud to add my voice to their call to start seeing the potential of this workforce in waiting. Show Comments ▼ There is also a very positive side to employing someone who has a disability. Positivity is infectious, and that’s good for business. Entry tests are different nowadays, but a disabled person still has to break down barriers before they can begin to prove their value.  And to all my fellow Londoners: let’s start seeing blind and partially-sighted people in a new light.  City A.M.’s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M. Sign up to City A.M.’s Midday Update newsletter, delivered to your inbox every lunchtime Sometimes, what someone can’t do is more obvious to a prospective employer than their inherent attributes. But if you give someone with a visual impairment a chance and trust them, they’ll move heaven and earth to be successful — to prove that they can overcome their particular challenge.  whatsapp More From Our Partners A ProPublica investigation has caused outrage in the U.S. this weekvaluewalk.comNative American Tribe Gets Back Sacred Island Taken 160 Years Agogoodnewsnetwork.orgRussell Wilson, AOC among many voicing support for Naomi Osakacbsnews.comPolice Capture Elusive Tiger Poacher After 20 Years of Pursuing the Huntergoodnewsnetwork.orgFlorida woman allegedly crashes children’s birthday party, rapes teennypost.comAstounding Fossil Discovery in California After Man Looks Closelygoodnewsnetwork.orgBiden received funds from top Russia lobbyist before Nord Stream 2 giveawaynypost.comBrave 7-Year-old Boy Swims an Hour to Rescue His Dad and Little Sistergoodnewsnetwork.orgUK teen died on school trip after teachers allegedly refused her Main image credit: Getty London is a wonderful place to live and work. I meant to stay for just two years when I first came here in 1972 from my Yorkshire home. Today, 47 years later, I’m a true Londoner — though still a Yorkshireman at heart.  I can see clearly how to help London’s blind community Tags: Workplace equalitylast_img

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