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Sophie's Success Story

Photo of Sophie

In 2018 SRSB ran an 8 week trial of a Job Club for the first time. It had been identified as a potential new service by the charity’s Service Development Team following research with clients.

Alongside offering practical advice, they also wants to raise awareness of the talents of one part of Sheffield’s workforce that often struggles to gain employment; its visually impaired clients. They were very pleased to have the interest of local papers and radio to help them promote the trial group.


Unemployment often has negative consequences for most people and SRSB wants to offer a service to its clients to help them expand their knowledge of the recruitment process and to develop their confidence.

The charity was also very fortunate that the trial was supported by several local organisations. Barclays, Irwin Mitchell, Gripple, Yorkshire Bank and EyeCan were just a few of the organisations who offered their expertise in this area, and the sessions were structured around the different stages of the employment process, for example, how and where to look for jobs in the first place, creating CVs and mock interview practice, benefits checks and confidence, as well as DWP’s Access to Work scheme which funds additional costs for employers and employees.

Sophie was one of the group of around 9 clients to attend the group. She has been a client at SRSB all her life and has taken part in sports and leisure groups, social groups and different activities such as children’s trips. So she has always been supported by the charity through different stages of her life. She is now in her early 20s and had never worked before as she was attending college to complete a course. So when she heard about the Job Club, she was keen to sign up.

SRSB, the group, and all the companies who supported this project were delighted when only a few weeks after the Job Club, Sophie secured employment with Affinity Trust as a support worker in Sheffield for adults with learning disabilities

One of the main points that came from the discussions at the group was the difficulty of knowing when to bring up your visual impairment with a potential employer. Sophie says “It increased my confidence in many ways, by reassuring me that I can tell my employer about my sight loss, and that many jobs can be adapted in other ways to make my role easier.”

She talks about one of the sessions where the group welcomed several visually impaired motivational speakers who are in employment. They spoke about their roles and their employment journeys. Sophie commented, “One of the things I found most useful at Job Club was listening to the motivational speakers, because even though they may have struggled with their jobs they always found ways to achieve their goals in their line of work”.

She goes on to say “Also, I found the mock interview week really useful. We took our CVs in and had a mock interview, and the panel asked us questions that we would have been asked in real interview. Also getting the feedback was really good to find out which areas I needed to improve in.”

When asked if the Job Club had helped her to secure the position she now holds, Sophie said “I do feel the job helped me to find employment. They told us about other places to look, for example the job fair that was at the Town Hall, where employers promote their businesses.”

When SRSB asked whether she would recommend that the group continues in the future, she gave them great feedback “I would 100 percent recommend that SRSB continue to do the Job Club, as it's a great opportunity to help people get in to employment.”

And as to whether she is enjoying her new role… “I am really enjoying it. I am learning on the job and improving my own skills to work as a trainer in the future.”

SRSB have been delighted with the Job Club and the support that they have had from local companies who were so willing to offer their time. The feedback from them was that they had learnt a lot too. The charity is in the process of planning how to take this group forward in the long term and are currently organising another Job Club to start this winter.

 
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Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind links