[access-uk] Re: Sales and support staff's knowledage of braille

Hi Eleanor

I have no anger or dislike towards S and S or anyone else come to that.  I
can only speak as an ex employee because I worked there, not for another
access technology company.  I felt it was most sad and unfortunate that they
did not choose to replace a blind person who was part of the sales team with
another who could do the job.  As you say, the management have the right to
re-structure and chose to employ someone on an ad hoc basis instead which is
their call.

But, making a general point, I feel strongly that the percentage of blind
people having the opportunity to work - especially given the current Tory
legislation - that assistive technology companies who draw their salaries
off the backs of blind people at the end of the day, should be doing more to
ensure that they have staff on board who are blind or visually impaired, but
provided they meet the criteria and can do the job.  As Derek rightly points
out, you can't just offer a blind person a job on the strength they are
blind if they can't do it.  I feel strongly that I know several skilled,
intelligent blind people who are literally on the scrap-heap because most
employers see sighted or able-bodied candidates as more useful to them in
the workplace than someone with a disability and who is less likely to be
able to multi-task.

It would be wrong and inappropriate for me to comment on the further
knowledge and information I have gained to substantiate my theory Eleanor,
so will leave it there.  I'm happy, and I hope everyone else is too.  But
the employment of blind people is very important given the stats out there
and the economic situation, so of course I want to see people I know who
have good Braille skills being able to have the opportunity to use them.

 


Kind Regards,

Jackie Cairns
J&M Work-Ability

jandm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
www.work-ability.co.uk
-----Original Message-----
From: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of
Eleanor Burke
Sent: 07 November 2010 11:14
To: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [access-uk] Re: Sales and support staff's knowledage of braille

Jackie
It is great that you support the employment of blind people.  I was forced
out of my job in 1993 before the DDA.  Reason, I became a MRSA carrier but
this was only there when I was in the environment of sick people.  When I
was at home I was totally clear.  However, the Health Authority (or my Boss
at least) was not going to go on paying for me to sit around at home when
tests showed that I was carrying the MRSA.  Once at home, it would clear and
return when I went back to work.  I was not sick or anything like that. 
After treatment for Cancer at the same hospital, my MRSA was found to be a
particular strain to that hospital alone.  Then what happened, oh yes, all
my MRSA tests results went missing!!! Yes missing! once I was being forced
to leave my job and I began asking questions.  I had even gone to staff
lectures in the hospital where this issue of MRSA was at a critical level
with the hospital actually opening special MRSA wards and I was sent on to
these wards to treat the patients as they said 'well, I was a carrier and
they did not wish to put another staff member in a position of becoming a
carrier'.  This is indeed all true.  One person asked in the critical
lecture, what if someone sued the hospital.  The response from the
Microbiology department was that the Health Authority were very luckey that
nobody had but if they did, then the person would have a case.  As I say all
my test results went missing!!!!  Then I tried to raise questions.  I was
told that I would have to prove that on a certain day at a certain time the
MRSA organism entered my body.  Well I did not stand a chance.  Then the
hospital/Health Authority tried to make me Redundant.  No chance, I was not
having that.  I went through all sorts with my Union etc but my union rep. 
was a young girl of about 21 years!!!!  She might have been interested in
the job but she was of no help to me.  I think she would have needed to be a
more mature person but there you are, not wishing to insult any 21 year olds
on the list.  I fought long and hard for 6 months, there was no DDA and I
did not stand a chance.  In the end in dispair, I went in to work one
morning and said I would accept ill health early retirement.  At least this
way I would have a pension etc.  I never saw people work so fast in all my
life.  ~Within one hour it was all organised, paperwork etc.  A total
disgrace.  Since leaving my work, I have kept myself busy on numerous
educational projects etc but I have not been back in employment.  Now with
regard your comments re S&S surely even though you were an employeek, you
still cannot speak for the Company once you have now left it.  I believe the
Director has the right to reorganise his staff etc.  Do tell me though, why
are you being so adament about employees needing to be able to read Grade 2
Braille?  You do come across to me at least as being very angry with the
company.  I know I was very angry when I left my job too and tried doing
everything I could.  I was even foolish enough to think if I wrote to David
Blunkett, a blind person, shadow Minister at the time for Education, he
might be able to assist me.  He just wrote back saying he had passed my
letter on to someone else and I never heard another word.  However, as that
was 1993 I must say that with the advancement of technology, this has been a
great help to me over the past 13 years but in terms of me using Braille
embossors, Braille note takers etc, I really do not mind whether the person
showwing me how they work can read Braille or not.  Interestingly though, I
have not had a lot of training in the use of screen readers as training is
pjrohibitively expensive for me as an individual so I just learn as I go
along, hence this list.  I do feel though that to have someone training me
who is blind and totally dependent on a screen reader would indeed be an
excellent rainer and would have an afinity with me.  When I learned Braille
all those years ago between 10 and 12 years then my teacher was blind and
again I felt that was appropriate but once I had mastered the skill, I did
not need a blind person to show me how to use the equipment.  There are lots
of things I cannot do on my computer, like purchase on-line.  I cand get
people to show me and I guess they might take time and patience but I firmly
believe the only person who could teach me and whom I would have total trust
in is a blind person because I would be confident that that person really
knew what they were doing.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jackie Cairns" <jackie.cairnsplace@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Sunday, November 07, 2010 10:16 AM
Subject: [access-uk] Re: Sales and support staff's knowledage of braille


> Hi Derek
>
> Like Paul, I feel that there is such a minority of working blind 
> people that, where companies in the access technology areana have the 
> opportunity to fill or bridge that gap, they should do so wherever 
> possible.  I didn't give a month's notice when I left S and S, I gave 
> three, partly because I was keen to see a successor join the staff and 
> become familiar with the Braille portfolio.  It didn't happen, Mr 
> Tookey chose the line he has taken, and that's the end of it as far as 
> I'm concerned.  I just felt at the time, and still do, that 
> advertising and a fair recruitment process to replace a blind person 
> with another who has a visual impairment would have been in order.  To 
> me, this says a lot about companies earning a lot of money on the 
> backs of those of us who have disabilities, and don't take our input 
> or skills seriously enough to employ us.
>
> That's my stance, it always has been, and it always will be, please or 
> offend.
>
> And, for what it's worth, Humanware have three working Braillists 
> there, one of whom is totally blind and the other two fully sighted.  
> Sight and Sound had nobody but me to read Braille sufficiently, and 
> now only have the replacement who is called in on an ad hoc basis as 
> and when he is required.
> Well, that's their call, but I don't believe there isn't anyone else 
> out there who would love a full-time job, could do it well, and have 
> the affinity one needs as a blind person to have the understanding of 
> others in a similar situation when it comes to sales and training.
>
> Anyway, it isn't an issue for me any more, thankfully.
>
>
> Kind Regards,
>
> Jackie Cairns
> J&M Work-Ability
>
> jandm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> www.work-ability.co.uk
> -----Original Message-----
> From: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On 
> Behalf Of Derek Hornby
> Sent: 05 November 2010 16:19
> To: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: [access-uk] Sales and support staff's knowledage of braille
>
> Hi Jackie
> I have changed subject line  a I think  there is room for  a wider 
> Debate on some issues here.
> I understand  all you are saying and  I was surprised nobody can read 
> Grade
> 2  Braille.  But then just a  sec, maybe not surprised!
>
> Few   weeks ago  I had  a demonstration  by Humanware  of a new
> Package  aimed at the deafblind. They call is  DBC  I think Stands for 
> deafblind communicator.
> Anyway the lady  that gave me the  demonstration  didn't seem to know 
> Braille! And this caused some  confusion!
>
> So after that  failed demonstration  Alan  Davis  came to me, Not too 
> sure if he knows Braille,  but he certainly  was far better At  
> explaining what he was  showing me.
>
> I am  now told  the trainer  will  be  a guy called Martin  (I forget 
> his
> surname)  works for  Humanware in UK.
>
> A  don't  think  a sighted  driver  would be happy for  a car Salesman 
> to be a non  driver,  so  to a point I agree There is  a  need for  
> those that sell  Braille displays,  to know Both  grade 1  and 2 
> Braille.
>
> I do  not accept the  person must be blind, because there are Many 
> sighted people out there that  know Braille  very well.
> Regards,  Derek
>
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