RNIB launches new focus for Disability Confident scheme

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has launched a new suite of resources that will help employers support blind and partially sighted people in the workplace. The resources have been created as part of the DWP’s Disability Confident scheme, the nationally-recognised Government accreditation that supports businesses to attract, recruit and retain disabled employees.

Now available on RNIB’s website, the suite was launched at an event hosted by insurance firm Zurich in London. During the launch, employers such as Royal Mail, O2 and John Lewis & Partners were brought together to recognise the contribution that blind and partially sighted employees make to businesses. They also got an exclusive first-look at the new resources, which have now been shared with more than 10,000 Disability Confident members.

David Clarke, Director of Services at RNIB, said: “Although employment rates are at a record high, just one in four blind or partially sighted people are in work, which is a waste of valuable talent and skills in the UK workforce. As well as helpful advice and best practice, our new suite of resources includes examples of people who are registered blind in a range of different roles – proving that people with sight loss can be graphic designers, film-makers and accountants.

“With the right support, visually impaired people can thrive in the workplace and make a significant contribution to businesses in almost all employment sectors. We just need employers to realise the unique commercial value that blind and partially sighted employees can undoubtedly bring to their businesses.”

The resources launched include a menu of webinars, good practice toolkits, guides for making changes and blogs. Employers are also invited to take an RNIB Workplace Accessibility Health Check, which assesses employers’ knowledge of the reasonable adjustments a blind or partially sighted person might need to do their job.

The government currently aims to achieve one million disabled people in the workplace by 2027, but Work and Pensions Secretary, Amber Rudd, has recently made a commitment to review targets on disability employment. The Disability Confident scheme is part of this effort, and involves businesses agreeing to comply with at least one of several commitments. These include providing reasonable adjustments to the working environment, offering interviews to disabled people, supporting existing employees, offering suitable recruitment and advertising vacancies.