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Visit from Lord Blunkett

Photo of Lord Blunkett speaking at the Job Club

Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind (SRSB) is aiming to raise awareness of the talents of one part of the region’s workforce that often struggles to gain employment; our visually impaired clients. We have just completed our second Job Club, and we were pleased to have a visit from Lord David Blunkett who spoke about his career, along with Euin Hill, one of our Trustees.

The session was the ‘Motivational Speakers’ meeting, which fell between the ‘Interview Skills’ and ‘Interview Practice’ sessions. The aim is to hear about other visually impaired people’s careers and to share their experiences, so that the group feel inspired by their successes and have the chance to ask questions. They both spoke about their career paths and the challenges that they had faced and overcome.

Unemployment often has negative consequences for people, and we want to offer this service to our clients to help them expand their knowledge of the recruitment process and to develop their confidence.

There were strong and valuable messages to pass on to the charity’s job hunters. David said “We need to give an example that people who are visually impaired can do this and realise that we are all involved in changing attitudes.” And words of encouragement: “Even when you are struggling, you never know what’s around the corner. You can end up doing things that you never thought you could do. Possibilities will present themselves.”

Euin added “There is a need to be flexible and be able to adapt. It helps to be confident: build from small things; be sure in what you are saying and show that you are keen.”

Both spoke about the people who had inspired them and it was clear that both had benefitted from having people in their lives who believed in them.

Joanne Ardern, Deputy Manager at SRSB says “It was great to have the support of David and Euin and SRSB has also been grateful for the support of many local organisations who have released staff to support the meetings. We believe that these kind of discussions are a way forward in raising awareness of this under-used workforce with a wealth of talent to offer.

“RNIB report that only 27 per cent of blind and partially sighted people of working age are in employment. We want to address this and empower clients with skills to help them in the search for work at any stage of their career. Our charity is proud to have visually impaired staff, Trustees and volunteers on its team. We all want to help others to find rewarding career paths too. In fact since our first Job Club we are pleased to report that two members of the group have found employment”

This Job Club has finished now, but we plan to arrange other sessions in the future. Please visit our client events section, call us on 0114 272 2757 or email

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