Charity calls on employers to help young people with sight loss ‘Realise’ their potential

Post date: 
Friday, 30 November 2018

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) in Northern Ireland has called for greater understanding and awareness amongst employers about the positive contribution young people with sight loss can make in the workplace.

The call comes at the end of the RNIB’s five year ‘Realise’ project. The initiative supported more than 300 blind and partially sighted young people, between the ages of eight and 25, as they travelled through critical transitional stages in their lives, such as entering school, further education or the employment market.

Rosaleen Dempsey, Children and Families Service Manager at RNIB NI commented: “Employability remains our most stubborn issue to tackle. According to our latest figures*, only one in four blind and partially sighted people of working age are in employment. This compares to one in three in employment in 2006. This is unacceptable.”

“It is clear that the young people who took part in this project are better skilled, more confident and have been supported to seek and apply for employment opportunities. But we need more employers to work with us in supporting a shift in attitudes to ensure barriers to progress are removed.”

Through activities such as participation in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme, touch typing, technology workshops, residentials and work placements, the young people who part in the RNIB’s ‘Realise Project’ developed confidence, new skills, friendships and grew their independence.


For further information, please contact Robert Shilliday, PR and Communications Manager at RNIB Northern Ireland, tel. 028 9033 4118, Mobile 07849 079597, or email [email protected]

Note to Editors

Across Northern Ireland 2,346 children and young people live with sight loss. (2011 NI census)

*RNIB’s ‘My Voice’ report released in 2015

The Realise Project was funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Empowering Young People programme

About RNIB

Every six minutes, someone in the UK begins to lose their sight. We are the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and we're here for everyone affected by sight loss – that's over 2 million people in the UK. If you, or someone you know, has a sight problem, RNIB can help. Call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit