After our holiday break for 2 weeks in August, we are now back with our regular monthly insights. We hope, if you managed to get away over the summer, you had good fun too 😊
As you may be aware, the VI Inclusive Employment Project, which we were commissioned to manage and run by TAVIP (Technology Association of Visually Impaired People), finished in July 2021. We have also now completed our report regarding the outcomes of and recommendations for this project, based on both feedback from the participants and our own reflections. We therefore thought we would share some of these with you in this month’s insight.
Our project was Phase 2 of TAVIP’s Inclusive Employment Project and back in October 2020, Dave and I (Vicky) along with Gary of Gary Eady Computer Training were commissioned to begin this phase by developing a pilot training programme for members of the VI community to support ‘work-ready’ people in their quest to secure and retain employment. In February 2021, it was agreed that the 3 of us were also best positioned to run the training itself and May the 4th (yes Star Wars Day) saw us start the training delivery with 9 participants.
So, what have we learnt?
Well, we have learnt that Dave, Gary and I can manage to work closely together over 10 months and still be speaking at the end – result number 1!!
We have also learnt that there are advantages to running the course over Zoom – something that only occurred due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, it enabled us to open the course to people from anywhere in the UK and also alleviated the stress and cost for people attending the training days. As one participant said:
“It is a lot more convenient to sign in 5 minutes before the session and not travel to a certain place. This also allows for participants attending from different parts of the country. I do not see any benefit of sitting at a desk with a laptop in a physical space, vs how the sessions were ran on Zoom”.
Having trainers with both personal experience and knowledge of vision impairment has yet again been a huge positive with participants commenting:
“There was an understanding of the frustrations and emotions which can accompany the road to employment and in the workplace”.
“Unless you have been through the experience of applying for a job when you are visually impaired or supported somebody who is visually impaired, you do not have the knowledge of what it is like and what it feels like.”
And of course, our signature relaxed and informal yet professional delivery style made for a positive participant experience – enabling people to not only benefit from our knowledge but also ask us questions, discuss things as a group and learn from each other’s experiences. This again was highlighted by the feedback we received:
“So far I have found the course very enjoyable and informative. I particularly like the informal, chatty style of the course. Participants are actively encouraged to ask questions and bring their own experiences to the sessions. I like the peer support aspect of the sessions, and hearing the experiences of others gives you a sense that you’re not alone”.
What were the successes?
We feel the project as a whole led to a hugely successful course and one we are proud to have been a part of. Although job outcomes were not an expectation of the course, 4 people from the course have taken up a paid job and one has started as a volunteer facilitator for a large VI charity. We are aware that 2 others continue to apply for job roles which we have assisted with.
We were also really pleased that by the end of the course 100% of participants were more aware of the support that is available to them and 92% of participants reported having developed greater employment skills from attending the course.
As in all of our training, it remains really important to us that participants both enjoy and benefit from our courses and for that reason, we finish this insight with how each participant summarised the course in 3 words (mostly):
· Inspiring, informative, innovative
· Challenging, fun, informative
· Informative, fun, knowledge-filling, very enjoyable
· Gap-filling, inspiring, educational
· Informative, motivating, helpful, friendly
· Interactive, motivating, supportive
· Gave me: Focus, clarity, honesty
We’ll take that every time 😊
We’re always interested to know about other people’s experiences and thoughts. Please share these by commenting…
Interested to learn more about VIDA Training? We provide professional, bespoke Vision Impairment and Disability Training, Consultancy and Employment Services. Please contact us for further information.
Our VIDA Insights...
Following our experiences from delivering our Vision Impairment Awareness training days over the past couple of years, we know that there’s loads more that we could talk about and examples we could have shared. Whilst these won’t be a substitute for our training, they will give you an insight (hence the name!) into our thoughts, observations and experiences from each of our perspectives - Dave’s living with sight loss and Vicky’s from being a sighted person and working alongside and supporting people who have sight loss.