I wanted to work but 250 employers couldn’t see past my visual impairment
(Picture: Getty)

When I was 13, I lost the vast majority of my sight to a rare genetic disorder.

I’m now registered blind and I have an amazing guide dog called Goldie.

This didn’t stop me from living my life and I graduated with a 2:1 in Theology.

Then I began what turned out to be a long and difficult job hunt.

I’d done loads of volunteering and I was under the illusion that with a good degree and lots of experience, I would find a job pretty easily.

This is what it’s like to date when you’re blind

This couldn’t have been further from the truth.

I said that I was blind in most of my applications and put it on my CV.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of and I wanted to be open from the start.

I applied for over 250 jobs in a variety of roles but I had no response from about half of them.

When I did get interviews, I spent most of my time trying to convince them that, although I was blind, I could do the job just as well as anyone else who had applied.

In phone interviews, when I mentioned that I was blind their attitude would suddenly change and despite getting positive feedback, I never got the job.

Towards the end of my job hunt I wanted to give up.

I just didn’t think I was ever going to get a job. I knew I could do it but by the end it was like ‘can I?’

Eventually I was offered a job as an administrator for a social enterprise and my employer was supportive right from the start.

They asked me what I needed and focused on my skills.

They sorted out equipment to enable me to do my job just as well as my sighted colleagues.

Access to Work pays for it, so it didn’t cost them a thing.

Why can’t more employers be like this?

Hope for the future

The world isn’t an easy place to live if you’re disabled – you’re faced with barriers left, right and centre.

As a society, we need to get rid of those barriers and that’s why I’m supporting Work With Me, a campaign by Scope and Virgin Media, which aims to do exactly that.

From my experience, one of the biggest barriers was attitudes.

I feel like people underestimated what I could do just because I was blind.

I want to contribute just as much as anyone else – and I can.

It’s just about being given the right support and a chance to prove yourself.

If you’re disabled, employers tend to focus on what you can’t do so my advice to other people would be to highlight your unique advantages.

For example, when faced with so many barriers we become incredible problem solvers.

You can get ground down by applying for jobs and not getting anywhere.

Don’t give up.

Look for success stories that show what’s possible and find out about support that’s available to you, like Access to Work.

For me, getting a job was far from easy and I want to make sure that other people don’t have to go through the same thing.

Research shows that there are a million disabled people who can and want to work but aren’t being given the chance.

It really isn’t fair.

So let’s change this.

It’s time we made everyday equality a reality.

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