Duncan had been a lorry driver for 25 years. After being diagnosed with Macular Degeneration he enrolled on the Adult Employment Programme at RNIB College Loughborough, determined to learn as much as possible to help him back into work and keep his independence.
Duncan went to live in the College Halls of Residence. Being married with children, leaving home was initially a bit of a struggle. However, he knew it was something he had to do, and that living on his own meant that he would have the time to dedicate to his studies.
Duncan's timetable was tailored to his needs and included Braille lessons; computer skills; mobility training; researching a new vocation; work experience and job search skills; and independent living skills. By the end of his first week he knew he had made the right decision to come to Loughborough.
During his time there Duncan also got involved within the College itself. He got elected as Student Representative for the adult trainees, helping to resolve issues for the trainees, and he also got involved in the open day that the college runs for potential new students.
After two months Duncan started a work placement with a local company in their transport office. As he had a background in the transport industry he was very keen to use his experience in this field. He was given his own project to work on that helped the company to identify the efficiency of its drivers. It involved a large amount of IT, and the work had to be accurate and meet very high standards. Duncan said it felt good to be in a position of trust and working on things that were important to the company. The work placement helped Duncan to practice the skills he had learnt at the College, and also helped him learn new ones.
Not long afterwards, Duncan got an interview with another transport company in his home area, which led to another two-week placement. During his time there, Duncan tried his best to impress his colleagues and show them what he was capable of. He was able to turn this two week work placement into a six-month, paid position through the RNIB Transitional Employment Scheme.
"The best part so far has been receiving my first pay check in such a long time. It was a great feeling and I took my wife out for dinner to celebrate."
Duncan kept a blog during his time at the College, and you can read his account of how the course helped him turn his life around. Read Duncan's blog.