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Tackling Unemployment for Blind and Partially Sighted People



Please let us know if you have any special requirements.


This seminar will focus on lessons from a three year, participatory action-research project delivered by RNIB, Action for Blind People and the University of Birmingham to help improve the employment prospects of blind and partially sighted people. The ENABLER project addressed concerns that government employment programmes do not recognise the additional barriers facing many blind and partially sighted people. Working alongside a group of employment specialists and approximately 100 blind and partially sighted people, we designed and tested:

  • A standard assessment model that has increased our understanding of the aspirations, skills and barriers to employment of blind and partially sighted people
  • Innovative support strategies for those furthest from the labour market, which has helped inform how RNIB deliver services for blind and partially sighted people seeking work.

The seminar will explore the theoretical framework, methodology and policy context for the research, as well as explaining how the employment assessment toolkit and new support strategies took shape during the project. It will conclude by highlighting the impact these innovations have made to the lives of working age people with sight loss, as well as within the Welfare to Work industry.

Alex Saunders led the ENABLER project. He has been with RNIB since 2009, having previously worked as a freelance qualitative researcher for organisations in the voluntary sector and health services. Alex has extensive management and front-line experience, including managing services for people with learning disabilities, delivering support services for people facing mental health challenges and alcohol and substance misuse, and working with children and families as a social worker.

Paul Lynch is working on a SightSavers International funded project studying the educational inclusion of children with visual impairment in developing countries. Paul’s PhD research explored the potential role of inclusive learning environments in promoting effective learning for visually impaired adults through the exploration of e-learning and assistive technology.


Saunders, A, 2015. The jobs that blind and partially sighted people do. RNIB, London.
Saunders, A, Douglas G, Lynch P, 2013. Tackling unemployment for blind and partially sighted people. RNIB, London.


  • Alex Saunders, Employment Impact Officer, RNIB 
  • Dr Paul Lynch, Research Fellow, Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research (VICTAR), School of Education, University of Birmingham


Please reserve a place by contacting Doria Pilling.

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When & where

1.00pm - 2.15pmTuesday 16th June 2015

AG08 College Building City, University of London St John Street London EC1V 4PB United Kingdom