Seeing differently with the RNIB

Published on Tue, 23/11/2021 - 10:29

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is engaged on a “See Differently” initiative that includes a new inclusivity standard for businesses

The RNIB has developed a new “Visibly Better” standard for inclusive employers. Airmic News talked to David Clarke, director of services at the charity, to find out more.

How is the RNIB working with companies to promote inclusivity?

Only one in four people with sight loss of working age are in employment. There are currently 11,000 people with sight loss in the UK who are actively seeking work. Many people also leave work unnecessarily each year due to sight loss.

We know the last year has been incredibly difficult for many employers; the months ahead will continue to be challenging. However, we also know that employers who have new job vacancies want the best selection of candidates and depend heavily on the experience and skills of existing staff.

To help with both recruitment and retention of staff, we are offering employers the opportunity to work with RNIB, to become a better and more inclusive employer for people with sight loss, through aligning your working practices to the RNIB Visibly Better Employer quality standard.

What is assessed as part of the Visibly Better standard?

RNIB has a number of specialists in the areas of employment and accessible and usable working practices who can support you in improving your recruitment and retention practices in relation to new and existing staff who have sight loss.

You don’t need to excel in all areas straight away. We will tell you what you are doing well, while making recommendations for improvement in other areas. We will help you to put in place practices which will enable your organisation to become an inclusive employer for anyone with sight loss.

This will be across potential applicants and existing staff members who may develop sight loss. You will often find that many changes introduced to help people with sight loss also benefit an even wider range of people.

How do you achieve the standard?

Firstly, RNIB will assess how inclusive your provision is for any staff with sight loss who currently work with you and also from the perspective of future applicants with sight loss.

We will then make recommendations on anything that needs to be changed and advise you on how to implement these changes. Once you have had an opportunity to take the necessary steps, we will come back and re-assess your employment practices.

This will be a friendly, collaborative process. We’re both working towards the same aim of improving your work practices and encouraging greater take up of job opportunities by blind and partially sighted people.

Once your organisation has met the criteria outlined in the standard, you will be awarded Visibly Better Employer status. To find out more, please email the RNIB Employment Team at: