“The only thing that stops you fulfilling your true potential is yourself”
Kaukub Asia, a dedicated Social Worker, works with young offenders in West Yorkshire, under Kirklees Council.
When training to be a Social Worker, Kaukub faced scepticism from her peers due to her vision impairment. They questioned her ability to handle the responsibilities of the job, expressing concerns about safety. People would tell her “it’s too dangerous, how would you know if a young person is carrying a weapon.”
Born with Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), Kaukub has now been working as a Social Worker for the past five years. She said: “Anything is possible, it is about having a positive mindset.”
She adds “It is the best environment for me – I love my role and wake up every day with a passion in my belly for the job. I know many don’t have this feeling sadly. This is through having a supportive team and line manager who enable me to thrive in the role.”
In her role, Kaukub occasionally faces tense situations, but her training equips her to de-escalate conflicts effectively. She believes in giving young people space and reassurance when needed, and she follows established safety procedures to maintain a secure working environment for all social workers.
Kaukub’s vision impairment has never been an issue when working with young people and their families. She has built excellent relationships and a good rapport with them. She said: ‘If anything, they know I’m completely focused on them and what they are saying. Others might get distracted by what else is going on in the background visually. I focus completely on the child.”
Kaukub attributes her self-belief and positive attitude to her family, who consistently told her that she could achieve anything she wanted to.
After completing her undergraduate degree in Politics and History at the University of Huddersfield and earning a master’s degree in counterterrorism and security from Leeds University, Kaukub pursued a second master’s degree in social work.
In her part-time role, Kaukub handles up to nine cases at any given time, using evidence-based assessment to gain a deep understanding of the unique backgrounds and circumstances of the young people she serves.
Kaukub also volunteers as a Police Coordinator for victims of hate crime, offering emotional support to those who have faced prejudice based on their race, faith, or disability. She also compiled a Disability Awareness Pack for officers, an invaluable resource for helping her colleagues understand vision impairment. Kaukub’s is also fluent in Punjabi and Urdu in addition to English, enabling her to provide vital interpretation when needed.
At work, Kaukub uses JAWS, a computer screen reader, to access screen content. Her equipment and support worker, Debbie, have been provided through the government’s Access to Work scheme, ensuring that she has the tools she needs to do her job. Kaukub and Debbie have formed a seamless and effective team over the past ten years.
Having a supportive team around her and supportive managers, have helped Kaukub thrive. She describes her employer as “supportive, compassionate, inspirational”, and says her managers “have given me time and space to work out how to do the best job I can”.
She explains: “For me it’s about acceptance, being classed as a colleague – being equal. If you haven’t got a supportive team you will struggle. It’s the little things that really make a difference.
“Colleagues thinking ahead by making sure documents are in an accessible format, sending these in advance of meetings and never declining to offer an arm for a sighted guide, offering to carry hot drinks from office to office, describing personal photos in a natural normal way and just generally being comfortable enough to have a laugh about blindness.”
When asked what careers advice she would give to other blind and partially sighted people, Kaukub’s advice is straightforward: “Don’t give up! Speak to other blind and partially sighted people about their experiences.” She added: “I’m happy and in a successful role and want my peers to achieve the same. Remember the only thing that stops you fulfilling your true potential is yourself.”
Outside of work, Kaukub, who lives in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire with her family, has a passion for animals and has recently taken up horse riding.