Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion Josepha Madigan TD has today officially launched the NCBI Transition Year Programme for students with vision impairments.

The purpose of this project is to support students who are blind or visually impaired in developing the life skills required for career exploration, training, and employment, with the aim of improving their life experience and participation.

The initial round of this programme aims to support students with vision impairment completing Transition Year in further developing their core and life skills necessary to successfully transition from second-level education in line with their peers. The programme is being delivered digitally via three-hour weekly workshops over nine months facilitated by staff from NCBI’s Children and Young Person’s Team, with support from Inclusive World Training.

The programme follows the evidenced-based “School to Work” and “Moving on” Programmes for students with vision impairment which includes:

•                    Job search knowledge and skills and develop confidence in their own ability to find work

•                    Improving self-presentation; both in-person and virtual settings

•                    Boosting and strengthening self-efficacy

•                    Encouraging proactivity

•                    Promoting goal setting

•                    Enlisting supports and networking

•                    Develop strategies to overcome barriers

•                    Disclosing vision impairment

In her remarks, Minister Madigan said:

I am delighted to launch the NCBI Transition Year Programme for students with vision impairments. This is an important moment where we acknowledge the value of transitional planning for students with SEN, particularly those who are vision impaired.

Transition Year is a time for personal growth, where people can learn a bit more about who they are and what kind of person they would like to be. The programme includes interesting guest speakers and peer role models. This is crucial as we all need role models in life who can set an example and give us self-confidence. That sense of self-confidence and self-belief is the most important thing that any of us learn. And we have a duty to pass it on to others in society. I know all of the students involved will someday be role models for other young people.

Studies show that students with vision impairments represent the smallest group of people with disabilities in higher education. In addition, people with reduced vision have 60 per cent less chance of being in employment than the general population. We all want that to change. It must change. For that to happen, support must be provided. That is why programmes like this are so important.”

Chris White, NCBI CEO, said:

The development of this Transition Year programme arose because students who are blind or vision impaired can lack the skills and experience required to successfully transition to Leaving Certificate and beyond. Supporting students at this point in their education is critical to ensuring their success in progressing to further and higher education as well as employment in line with their peers.

It is intended that following the successful completion and evaluation of this project, the NCBI will be in a position to recommend a sustainable model of support to TY students into the future which will address the present skill gap and support students in the transition to the world of work or further and higher education.

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