Employment Services help Leonie thrive in the workplace

20 September 2021

Being diagnosed as legally blind has not stopped Leonie Smith from thriving at one of the busiest workplaces at the moment – a COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

Leonie approached Vision Australia Employment Services in March 2021. At first, she was unsure about what she would like to do for work. However, after creating a resume and participating in career planning with her employment consultant Lianne, Leonie was able to pinpoint a few possible career paths.

“Lianne listened to what I was interested in, matched my skills and interests and did some marketing on my behalf," Leonie said.

Leonie was drawn to a position at UFS Pharmacies because the staff seemed friendly and it was close to her home. Though a job was not advertised, her employment consultant was able to speak with management and create an opportunity for a reception role at a UFS vaccination clinic in June 2021.

Vision Australia then organised a worksite assessment to determine whether she required any assistive technology or other adjustments in the workplace. With the help of her employment consultant, Leonie was then able to have an Explore 8 Magnifier and high contrast keyboard funded by JobAccess.

"Leonie smiling"
Leonie smiling in front of a brick wall.

Leonie expressed the worksite assessment was extremely helpful in identifying the best way for her to work with her vision loss.

“I never really knew what equipment I needed and now I don’t know how I can live without it," she said. 

Though it is an extremely busy workplace, Leonie said her colleagues are always supporting her and even offer to give her lifts home, as she cannot drive.

“I always feel welcome and happy to go to work because I like the people that I work with."

When asked about the advice she would give to other job seekers, Leonie said that it is important to get out of your comfort zone and take advantage of any opportunity that you are given. At first, Leonie was only working one day per week. However, she is now working four days a week and has the potential to move to other areas of the business once the vaccination clinic has closed, due to the experience and skills she has gained over the past three months.

Leonie’s employment at UFS has allowed her to gain confidence and grow both personally and professionally.

“I am definitely more out of my shell and less anxious about everything."

If you are blind or have low vision and are looking to join the workforce, or need assistance with your current job, contact the Vision Australia Employment Team on 1300 847 466.

We’d like to thank Leonie for sharing her employment journey with us. If you would like to share your own journey with us, please feel free to contact us at media@visionaustralia.org