Marc’s Story: Steps to Employment

Leaving school at 16, Marc was uncertain about his next steps. Marc has the eye condition achromatopsia. Registered as sight impaired, he has reduced near and distance vision, as well as issues with light sensitivity and colour.

Initially Marc wanted to become a plumber but felt that it would have been hard to achieve because of his level of vision. Undeterred, Marc reflected, “Obviously some jobs will be more of a struggle but that doesn’t mean that you can’t work”. 

Employability Course 

Marc enrolled onto an Employability course at a local college. These courses provide learners with a greater knowledge, understanding and practical experience of the skills employers look for.

“I felt it was a really good way to start getting into employment. I had work experience in retail and with disabled young people. I had support until I felt comfortable working alone. I had shorter shifts, as well as time in college”.

In school Marc received specialist support from a Qualified Teacher of Children and Young People with a Vision Impairment (QTVI) and a Habilitation Specialist. This helped Marc develop good mobility and IT skills, which he feels helped with his employability. 

There were times in school that Marc had not wanted to use ‘adaptations’ for fear of seeming ‘different’. 

“When I was at school, I just wanted to be the same as everyone else and didn’t want the adaptations”. 

However, when Marc started work experience, he quickly realised the importance of using technology. Using a tablet to zoom in on price tags etc, on the shop floor ensured Marc could complete required tasks. This was a turning point for Marc.

“I could see how beneficial it was, I became more confident and more prepared for work, as I developed my skills”. 


Before moving on to an apprenticeship Marc decided to enrol on a pre-apprenticeship with the local council. This additional step towards employability helped Marc to further embed skills needed in the workplace. Reflecting on this time Marc commented that at school he never thought he would get a job. As his confidence grew, his attitude changed. 

“It hit me when I did go and try new things, I was successful. The actual experience of work got me wanting to push myself to do proper work”. 


Following a successful year on the pre-apprenticeship course, Marc moved on to an apprenticeship with the council, as a Business Administrator apprentice. 

Marc received adjustments in the workplace, small changes that ensured he could carry out his work.  

“I got a black desk because one of my parts of my condition is problems with bright lights. When the lights were shining down on the white desk, I would struggle”. 

Marc was provided with a larger monitor and larger keyboard, this and the specialist support in school where he had been taught how to make the screen accessible, also helped. Marc believes that his employers were proactive in ensuring he didn’t face unnecessary obstacles in the workplace. 

Marc would have been eligible for these adjustments through the Access to Work scheme, not only for his paid employment but also his apprenticeship. Access to Work is a publicly funded employment support programme that aims to help more disabled people start or stay in work. It can provide practical and financial support if you have a disability or physical or mental health condition.

Marc’s colleagues know that he has a vision impairment, this makes life much easier for him. 

“Sometimes when I come in the office, the lights have been turned up brighter and ask if I can turn them down, so it’ll be easier for me. I wasn’t like that in school. I didn’t want to be different. But I think as I’ve got older, I’ve got more comfortable with it”. 


Completing his apprenticeship, Marc knew he had the skill set, confidence and experience of the world of work to apply for a job within the council. This application was successful, and he is now a Business Support Officer. 

Marc has found his voice, understanding the importance of having open and honest conversations when he needs to around his vision impairment. 

“I think the best way to look at it is to say something and get the support or don’t do the work and you’re just going to either get in trouble or not be kept on because it looks like you’re just not doing the work”. 

Next steps… 

Marc is at the start of his career but is already looking to the future and wanting to take on more responsibilities and opportunities within the workplace. Looking back over the last few years Marc reflected: 

“When I got knocked back for going for the job that I wanted and then obviously realising I couldn’t drive as well. I realised that it was going to be harder than I thought. But I’m doing well. I’m happy with how I’m doing in life”.

Check out our guide to apprenticeships to find out more about apprenticeships and the support you can get as a blind or partially sighted apprentice.

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