Career Sampler aims to get blind and low vision young people on the career path

01 February 2019

Many young people from an early age have their dream career in mind and there’s no reason that living with blindness or low vision should be a barrier to pursuing that.

Leading blindness and low vision service provider Vision Australia will be aiming to reinforce that message at its upcoming Career Sampler event.

Aimed at children who are blind or have low vision, as well as parents, carers and teachers, the Career Sampler will feature a range of blind and low vision panellists and mentors who will detail how they forged their careers.

“We are excited to host this opportunity for children, young people, families and vision support teachers to hear from and speak to people about their careers and jobs,” Vision Australia chief executive officer Ron Hooton said.

It’s never too early to think about employability, and we know that having information about what jobs exist and how people do them can make a big difference when it comes to decision making at the end of school and in early adulthood,” Ron said.

“It also helps to know what can be worked on in the earlier years so you’re ready to make those decisions and take advantage of opportunities for work experiences,” he said. 

The Career Sampler will include a panel discussion, after which people will be able to meet and chat with people who are blind or have low vision from a range of career paths.

Panellists and mentors on the day will discuss a range of topics, including:    

  • their chosen career paths that match their interests,
  • how they found jobs that fit their skills and experiences,
  • further training and study undertaken post high school and
  • how they built up the work experience needed to secure a job.

While the idea of considering a career may seem like it something that is applicable to older children and teenagers, Vision Australia paediatric occupational therapist Natalie Kaine said organisers are hoping younger children and their parents will also attend.

 “Whether it’s the perception of employers and co-workers or accessibility issues, people who are blind or have low vision do unfortunately face barriers to finding employment,” Natalie said.

“We hope if we can expose children at young age to people who are blind or have low vision and who are successful in their careers it will help them to view employment as a regular part of life like their sighted peers, rather than something that is either going to be a challenge or off limits to them.”

Natalie said the Career Sampler is also an important reminder that young people need to develop the necessary skills so they can make the most of opportunities later in life.

“People sometimes tell me that employment is something they’ll think about after high school or university, but we hope to demonstrate to families that there are lots of things kids and young people can start doing now so they can take advantage of any opportunities for working or volunteering that come along while they’re still at school,” she said.

“We know that graduating high school with at least a few hours of work experience or volunteering that you can write on your resume makes such a difference when it comes to applying for paid work. So it’s about being prepared, having the skills like using a mobility cane for getting around the community, or accessing print in different formats and being independent so you can jump into work experiences. 

“Without those already in place it becomes so much harder, and can delay a person’s chances of obtaining and maintaining paid employment. Employability is a continuum of skill development that begins in early childhood, so I would definitely encourage families to come along to get some ideas about what’s possible and what’s necessary.”

The Vision Australia Careers Sampler will be held on Saturday, February 9 from 12.30pm to 4.30pm at Burwood RSL, 96 Shaftsbury Road, Burwood. To register your interest, or for further information email visionaustraliachildrenservicessydney@visionaustralia.org.