One of the best decisions Annette ever made was refusing to listen to the people who dismissed her dream of being a professional artist.
“I have albinism and was told many times that I was only capable of working in call centres and factories, which I wasn’t interested in doing. An actual career was out of the question - it was never discussed with me,” says Annette.
People who are blind or have low vision encounter huge misconceptions and many barriers in workplaces including employers having low expectations and workplaces being inaccessible.
Photo credit - Natalie Holmes
Annette aligned with people who recognised her talents and skills and was provided with the equipment she needed. With the help of assistive technology she noticed her best work was created on accessible screens and in dark lit rooms and she mastered her craft, eventually launching and managing her own graphic design business for five years.
“My business took off like wildfire, I didn’t expect it. I kept thinking, ‘How do I promote myself as a vision impaired person who does design’?”
“The business was really successful as I had strong testimonials from customers who were more interested in my work than my vision impairment. While I had the business I also taught Photoshop and other design courses to locals,” says Annette.
Today, Annette continues to lead a career in design, content development and training. The 51-year-old believes that employers who are reluctant to diversify their workforce are missing out on an untapped market.
“Employers who are not open to employing people like me, need to look at the evidence of how successful and employable people who are blind or have low vision actually are rather than hold narrow thoughts,” says Annette.
There are many issues preventing people who are blind or have low vision from equal access to employment.
This 2018 Victorian Election, we’re urging government to take the lead and ensure public service workplaces are accessible to provide better employment rights for job seekers who are blind or have low vision and all people with disability. Please help us campaign for change.