Queenslanders Scott Preston and Nathan Price have benefitted from a new traineeship for people who are blind or have low vision.
Run by Vision Australia and supported by the Bolstering Apprenticeship Commencements (BAC) wage subsidy scheme, the traineeship has allowed the pair to complete tertiary qualifications while undertaking paid work with the not-for-profit organisation.
Scott is studying a Certificate III in Business Administration and has been working on both the reception desk at the Vision Australia Coorparoo office and supporting the organisation’s client support queue.
Scott, 34, who lives with low vision as a result of cone rod dystrophy, said the traineeship meant he could learn different skills in a supportive workplace.
“There is quite a lot of variety. It is not just on one department I am working in different teams on different things so you get a lot of experience,” he said.
“All of the systems are set up and designed for vision impaired people.”
For Nathan, 43, who had worked as a builder for 20 years before his vision deteriorated due to optic neuropathy, the traineeship means he’s now more optimistic about his career opportunities.
Nathan’s studying for a Certificate III in Community Services and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessing and has been working to support clients participating in Vision Australia’s woodworking programs.
“After losing my eyesight I didn’t think it would be possible to work in this [building] industry,” Nathan said.
The traineeship has been such a positive for Nathan that a daily three-hour commute to the Coorparoo office didn’t made the experience any less enjoyable for him.
“I absolutely love it. It is very rewarding to see the clients achieve their goals. They walk in wanting to make something and walk out with a finished product.”
Vision Australia employment consultant Julie Ann Hall said both Scott and Nathan had developed strongly during the traineeship.
“They’ve both become so much more self-assured about themselves and would also be great role models for other people who are blind or have low vision and are embarking on their employment journey,” she said.
If you are blind or have low vision and are looking to join the workforce, or need assistance with your current job, contact the Vision Australia Employment Team on 1300 847 466.
More information about the BAC wage subsidy is available from business.gov.au.