NidhiInclusion in the workplace can have many benefits and barriers. As a person with vision impairment I have experienced stigma towards inclusion and acceptance in the community due to stereotypes or fear of hiring someone with vision impairment. I have contributed to three different organizations in paid roles over five years which has hopefully increased their awareness of hiring someone with a disability. Inclusion can depend on the type of industry, level of disclosure and the strengths and weaknesses of each person and the impact of their disability on their work life.

Statistics show that 45% of people with vision impairment live below the poverty line. These figures are alarming as there is limited awareness and the barriers placed on people with disability by the current social security system further complicates things. For instance, most people on the DSP have to work between 8 - 30 hours/fortnight to make ends meet due to the rising cost of living. Disability employment networks, a positive support network, and remembering that 90% of jobs are created by word of mouth should encourage you to market yourself to prospective employers and put yourself out there. You can do things like post on social media or go to different events and conferences. Also, remember to never give up as when one door closes another one opens.

Diversity in the workforce makes good business sense and allows the organisation to benefit from the employee and in return makes the employee feels like he/she is making a valued contribution to society. Companies can train workers on awareness and help forge strong lifelong friendships and therefore break down barriers and help achieve social inclusion.

Looking for work can be challenge for all of us but keeping yourself active while looking for a job helps improve social connections and life should keep on moving and be interesting and positive. Be honest and be you.