Woman gives a tour to men with sight loss.

Sight loss: at work

In the UK, Jobcentre Plus is the main provider of support for disabled people looking for work.

Support finding a job

Within each Jobcentre is a Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) who can help you:

  • Find a job;
  • Find job related training;
  • Find disability friendly employers; and
  • Refer you to a work psychologist, if appropriate.

Your DEA can also give advice on programmes, including Work Choice and Specialist Employability Support, which can help you get into work.

Work Choice

Work Choice is a service that is tailored to meet your needs. It helps you find a job and offers support when you start work.

Work Choice includes:

  • Training and help in developing your skills;
  • Support in building your confidence; and
  • Interview coaching.

Please note, the level of assistance provided depends on what you need and varies from person to person. Find out more about What you'll get from the Work Choice section of GOV.UK.

Specialist Employability Support

Specialist Employability Support provides mentoring and training to disabled people who do not qualify for other government schemes like Work Choice. To receive Specialist Employability Support, you must have a disability or health condition, be unemployed and of working age.

Depending on your needs, two types of support are available:

  • Short-term support and training which typically lasts for around three months; and
  • Long-term help usually lasting for 12 months.

You are allowed to choose the organisation that supports you, whether it is your local Jobcentre Plus or a specialist disability employment agency.  

Check out the Specialist Employability Support section of GOV.UK to find out more about the scheme.

Two Ticks: positive about disability

Two Ticks is a programme run by Jobcentre Plus that supports employers who wish to employ disabled people. Your DEA can advise you about employers who support the Two Ticks programme.  

Employers who meet the criteria of the programme are able to display the Two Ticks symbol on their job advertisements.

Employers participating in the programme must commit to:

  • Interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for a job vacancy and to consider them based on their abilities;
  • Discuss with disabled employees, at any time but at least once a year, how to develop and use their abilities;
  • Make every effort when employees become disabled to make sure they stay in employment;
  • Take action to ensure that all employees develop the appropriate level of disability awareness needed to make these commitments work; and
  • Review these commitments every year and assess what has been achieved, plan ways to improve on them and let employees and Jobcentre Plus know about progress and future plans.

Employers must provide information about vacancies in alternative formats, such as in large print or digitally, on request if it is reasonable to do so. Employers must also accept applications in alternative formats where possible.

Employment support for visually impaired people

The sight loss charity, Action for Blind People, has a national employment advice service. They provide advice and guidance on any issues relating to visual impairment and employment. Find out more on the Employment advice section of the Action for Blind People website.

The RNIB has job search resources for visually impaired job seekers that can also help you develop the skills you need to find a job.

Disability rights in employment

The Equality Act 2010 protects disabled people from being discriminated against in the workplace. It is illegal for employers to discriminate against you because you are blind or partially sighted. The Act covers disabled people looking for work, as well as those already in work.

For more information about employment and disability discrimination, please check out the Disability discrimination section on the ACAS website.

Disclosing your disability

You do not have to disclose your disability in advance to prospective employers. Some people prefer to do so; others don't. It is your choice.

To find out more, please visit the Disclosing a disability section of the RNIB website.

Support in the workplace

When you are in work, your employer needs to make whatever 'reasonable adjustments' are necessary to ensure that you are on par with your non-disabled peers in the workplace. These may include;

  • Making changes to your working environment;
  • Adjusting your working hours; and
  • Purchasing special equipment.

Access to Work

Access to Work is a grant programme run by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that supports disabled people to:

  • Start working;
  • Stay in work; and
  • Become self-employed or start a business.

Grants are tailored to meet individual needs, are not means tested, don't need to be paid back and don't affect other benefits.

Access to Work grants provide funds towards the costs of a support worker, equipment or travel to work. Grants are for support that is over and above employers' legal requirements to make reasonable adjustments.

Support if you lose your job

If you lose your job or are about to lose your job, your disability should not be a factor.  

Redundancy

Before your employer considers redundancy, they should go through a consultation process and take reasonable steps to include you. Your employer cannot select you for redundancy simply because you are disabled. They must go through a fair and balanced process that does not put you at a disadvantage because of your disability.

To find out more, please visit the Redundancy section of the GOV.UK website.

Retirement

In the same way that employers cannot select you for redundancy due to your disability, they are unable to ask you to retire before you are legally required to do so.

To find out about planning for your retirement, please visit the Retirement section of the GOV.UK website.

Dismissal

Your employer is unable to dismiss you for reasons related to your disability.

To find out more about being dismissed from your job, please visit the Dismissal section of the GOV.UK website.

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