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A WEBINAR to help visually impaired students make informed decisions about their future careers takes place on Friday 21 August (11am-12.30pm).

Hosted by the Thomas Pocklington Trust, the webinar is in response to the charity’s latest research which reveals that careers advice has been failing young people with vision impairment since the closure of the national Connexions service.

Emma Cruickshank, head of the Children Young People and Families team at Thomas Pocklington Trust, said: “Our research is worrying. As well as the disparities across the country, the research shows how important it is to have tailored support for these young people, which addresses their visual impairment in a positive and aspirational manner.

“They need support to make realistic decisions for the future and are made aware of the different types of support available to help them on their chosen pathways.”

The Trust’s research looked at young people’s experiences of Careers Education Information, Advice & Guidance (CEIAG) support in mainstream education in England since the national Connexions Service ended and the duty to provide careers education passed from local authorities to individual schools and FE colleges.

The inconsistent offer of CEIAG across mainstream school settings in England is leaving some young people in a vulnerable position without the necessary information, guidance and experiences to make informed decisions for their future.

The research found careers support for VI children and young people provided in mainstream schools is insufficiently tailored to the individual, when compared to support delivered in specialist schools.

The disparity in specialist support is determined by school/college settings, in which local authority they are situated and whether they have an Education Health and Care Plan or not.

The research results combined an online survey of young people aged 13-25 who are currently receiving or have received CEIAG in the last eight years and a series of focus groups with Qualified Teachers of Children and Young People with Vision Impairment (QTVIs).

The overall consensus from QTVIs was that the current CEIAG offer does not meet the very specific needs of students with VI and leaves them in a vulnerable position as they transition into adulthood.

Emma Cruickshank added: “We will be looking to work with professional bodies and forums around this issue and challenging policy makers on the disparities of support across the country. We had some reports of positive experiences in careers support so there are examples of good practice to build upon.

“We will also create careers resources for both professionals and for children and young people and their families. And we will establish a calendar of careers events for children and young people with visual impairment.”

Read the full report here.