IICF 2022 grant helps Vision Foundation run youth conference

20th April 2022

In March 2022 Vision Foundation and LOOK (with support from the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation) teamed up to host an employment conference for visually impaired 16-25-year-olds. The conference, attended by over 50 young people ready to take the step from education to employment, provided everything a young visually impaired person needs to land their dream job.

If you’re a blind adult of working age in the UK, there is only a 1 in 4 chance that you’re working. That means that over 300,000 blind and partially sighted people are currently excluded from the workplace.

Career education is also failing many young visually impaired people and there is inconsistent support and poorly defined careers provision at school, college, and local authority level across the country.

To address this, and with the support of IICF, the Vision Foundation in partnership with Look UK launched the very first virtual Youth Employment Conference for young blind and partially sighted people.

The conference took place on 26 March 2022 and aimed to raise the aspirations of young visually impaired people, between the ages of 16 – 24 years.

A host of speakers (27 in total, of which 23 are visually impaired) shared information about self-advocacy, Access To Work, CV writing and interview skills, assistive tech and work experience placements.

There were 50 attendees.

Of those that signed up:

  • 49% were at school
  • 10% were at university
  • 20% were in work

Pre-conference – 60% said they didn’t feel confident about securing employment.

Post-conference – 80% said they felt confident about securing employment.

The conference presented a fantastic opportunity to hear the voices of a diverse range of talented individuals with a visual impairment who are successfully navigating the workplace. It highlighted a few recurring themes including:

  • Building confidence to speak out and ask for what you are entitled to.
  • Being prepared with enough information and nurturing a solution-driven approach.
  • The importance of resilience and adaptability: being prepared for rejection but not giving up; and
  • Building a network – you can’t know too many people!