A stable and worthwhile job is a fundamental element to both full insertion in society and a fulfilled personal life. Statistics gathered as part of EBU's Hidden Majority reports (which looked at economic inactivity among blind and partially sighted people in different European countries) showed that, while data collection techniques vary, often as many as of two-thirds of working age blind and partially sighted people were without employment, far above the average for the rest of the population. There is little to make us think that this situation has improved over the past few years.

This is why EBU considers the improvement in the employment rate for the visually impaired to be a key topic, and has tackled this in different ways. In addition to the above-mentioned Hidden Majority Reports, we produced a series of three joint position papers on rehabilitation, including one on Political Positions Concerning the labour Market from Self-Help Organisations of Blind and Partially Sighted Persons in Europe.

We also produced a manual for inexperienced job seekers with a visual impairment, also available in French and German. This detailed anual includes an analysis of skill and competences, writing a c.v. and cover letter, going for interviews, and a section on body language and presentational skills. Following on from this manual a series of workshops were held in different European countries by trainers formed using the manual, to assist young people in finding employment.

Following this work we have recently carried out a survey of 'Good practices on blind and partially-sighted persons’ employment in Europe'. This resulted in a summary document in English, also translated into Czech, French, Italian, German, Polish, Portuguese, Serbian, Spanish and Turkish. All versions are available for downloading. This newsletter will concentrate on the 17 examples of good practice which were collected from different countries. The conclusion which follows these examples will detail the next developments in our ongoing work to improve the employment prospectives for blind and partially sighted people throughout Europe.