French exchange visitors take a Dolphin trip

English and French students at Dolphin HQ

Dolphin, the Worcester-based technology company, welcomed visually impaired UK and French exchange students to demonstrate employability access for blind and partially sighted people.

Six young adults from The Royal National College for the Blind (RNC) and Cité Scolaire René Pellet – RNC’s partner college in Lyon – visited Dolphin Computer Access to hear from Dolphin staff around topics such as technology, accessibility and mobility within the workplace.

The exchange visit was funded by the Charles de Gaulle Trust, who are affiliated to the British Council. Its aim was to explore the issues of mobility, transition and access to work in Lyon and in France, while working towards co-operation between European countries to improve employment opportunities for people with visual impairments. As part of this, RNC are engaging with the students to compare accessibility of public transport in the UK, and researching how people with a visual impairment access employment and how employers adapt their working environment to suit their needs.

With only one third of registered visually impaired people of working age in employment in the UK,

Former RNC student and French exchange participant, Ben Rendle addressing the visitors

Former RNC student and French exchange participant, Ben Rendle addressing the visitors

Dolphin recognises the importance of demonstrating routes to work to young people and removing boundaries to their future. 25% of Dolphin employees are blind or partially sighted, including former RNC student Ben Rendle, who successfully completed an apprenticeship and is now a Trainee Technical Support Advisor.

Ben said: “I was fortunate to see a technical support apprenticeship advertised with Dolphin when I left RNC in 2013. When I started work I was given specific training on using Dolphin’s computer based systems with a screen reader; this enabled me to do the same job as everyone else.”

Teacher in Charge of French at RNC, Claire Lewin, commented, “We learnt so much during our visit – not just about the great work that Dolphin does in developing assistive technology, but also about its culture of inclusion.  Dolphin has encouraged our students to think about how they manage their visual impairment on a day-to-day basis with a view to being as independent and fulfilled as possible.”

Article written by Anika Backhouse, PR, Publications & Outreach Officer at RNC