Employers

Reliable, keen and hard-working employeesA woman sitting at computer with a headset

Recruiting an employee who is blind or has low vision could be one of the best decisions you and your company ever make.

Employing a blind person, or keeping on an employee whose vision is failing, is much easier than you think.  Most people who are blind or have low vision need little or no additional support – but we’re here to help if they do. And the rewards will exceed the effort involved.

Whether you’re a small local business or large corporate, the Blind Foundation can help you find the right people to join your company.

A blind person may not be able to fly a plane, but they can – and do – work in a huge range of roles.  They work in human resources and IT, as musicians and music teachers. They are bakers, wine-makers, lawyers and psychiatrists. You’ll also find them as administrators  and legal secretaries. The list goes on.

Please get in touch with us here at the Blind Foundation. Let us get working for you – soon.

We can find you a great employee or help you keep a valued employee in the job.  Call us on 0800 24 33 33  or email employment@blindfoundation.org.nz

Finding a top notch employee

The Blind Foundation employment experts can provide you with a top-of-the-line, dedicated recruitment service that is both professional and free.

We can find you dedicated, skilled, keen new staff members.

We can help with an employee’s on-the-job training and with accessing government funding, if necessary. This can be for adaptive equipment, or, for example, the use of a driver if travel is part of the job.

We can also provide training for you and your staff so you can better understand blindness and low vision issues. And we can help you meet your health and safety obligations.

Lastly, we stay with you. The Blind Foundation provides ongoing support and advice.

The benefits – a boost to your triple bottom line

If you need a reason to employee a blind person it’s your customers – one in four of them is disabled.  Having someone with a disability in your company gives you valuable insight into many of your customers’ wants and needs.

Your community image gets an instant boost, along with your social responsibility profile. You can also meet the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) goals of your business.

Another benefit is lower recruitment costs. People with a disability don’t change jobs very often and have a better work attendance rate than average person. They are as productive as other staff and their safety rate is high.

Help when a valued employee loses their vision

The Blind Foundation’s experienced employment team can help you keep an employee facing vision loss in their job. It usually doesn’t take much.

We can help with support and training, and adapting equipment for your employee. Any costs will likely be met by government funding, which we can help you access.

It is worth contacting us early as possible so we can help keep your employee working well and happily in their job.

Answering your FAQs

How do blind people and those with low vision do their job?

They usually do their job in a similar way to their sighted colleagues. Employees who are blind or have low vision may use a range of adapted skills and tools to enable them to complete tasks required of their job.

What tools do they use?

With advances in technology, work tasks for people who are blind or have low vision are becoming more and more accessible.

People who are blind or have low vision can access information by using text-to-speech or screen-magnification software on their computer, for example. There are also devices such as speech enabled smartphones and tablets, personal organisers and electronic magnifiers.

Apple, Microsoft Windows and Android devices are all quite accessible for users who are blind or have low vision. The range of software and apps is also increasing rapidly.

What jobs can blind people do?

With the right training, equipment and support, people who are blind or have low vision can enjoy the same career prospects as anyone else.  Jobs where good vision is essential – being a pilot, for example – are obviously off limits, but that’s about it. Otherwise, they can work successfully and productively in just about any role.

Can blind people compete with sighted people for the same job?

Absolutely. Blind workers and those with low vision can be just as skilled, qualified, dedicated, safe and eager to work as other people. International research backs this up.

How will a blind person get to work?

If a person who is blind or has low vision is ready to work, he or she has likely been travelling independently for some time.  They may take public transport or a taxi, walk or have a driver. Getting to work is the person’s responsibility – just as it is for other staff.

How can we advertise our vacancies to blind people? 

Talk to one of our Employment Consultants. They can help you list a job and match job seekers to your vacancy. Simply call 0800 24 33 33 or email employment@blindfoundation.org.nz

We can also help make your job ads, and the application process, accessible for blind and low vision applicants.  You can read how to (link to Accessible Docs and Websites) or contact our accessibility team for help on 0800 24 33 33 or access@blindfoundation.org.nz

What special equipment will I need to buy?

If any special equipment or modifications to the workplace are necessary, the Blind Foundation can help you access government funding for any costs relating to a person’s disability in their employment. So in most situations an employer has no extra costs if they employ a person who is blind or has low vision.

What if the person proves to be unsuitable?

People who are blind or have low vision don’t expect special treatment. The procedures that apply to any other unsuitable worker apply to a blind employee who doesn’t perform to the agreed standard.

What support is available to me as an employer?

There are many ways we at the Blind Foundation can support you and your employee to ensure ongoing success in the workplace. For example, we can help you access disability and employment funding and subsidies.  We can provide blindness awareness training for you and your staff and advise on adaptive technology. We can also help you and your employee with any workplace issues related to their vision capabilities.

What rate of pay is expected?

The same rate as anyone else performing similar duties.

How will I train this person?

You will probably be able to train the person in the same way as anyone else. If necessary, we can orient him or her around the workplace. We can help the person use any adaptive technology effectively and work with you around training to the person is as productive as possible.

What about health and safety issues?

The risks of having an employee who is blind or has low vision are the same as for any other employee when standard health and safety procedures are followed. In fact, research shows workers with a disability have a better safety record than non-disabled workers.

At the Blind Foundation, we have a specialist rehabilitation team that can assess your workplace and address any health and safety concerns. Having a person who is blind or has low vision on your staff may encourage improved systems for all staff.

Improving safety can be quite simple to.  One example is identifying walk areas using tactile markings. This would help a blind employee move safely from one place to another in your workplace. Similarly, good colour contrast on the edges of steps can make them much safer.

Where do I get more information?

Simply call 0800 24 33 33 or email employment@blindfoundation.org.nz