Sarah explains why disability is not a barrier to working at UCLan
Sarah Middleton works in Student Services here at UCLan.
Sarah has worked here for 37 years. She started as a non-disabled member of staff but unfortunately suffered loss of sight, Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), caused through pregnancy 24 years ago; and has therefore seen the University from ‘both sides of the fence’.
“Because of my disability I was encouraged to access the redeployment facility to ensure that I could continue in full-time employment, as at that time my current position was not particularly suitable for my eye condition. Through the encouragement and assistance of the People Team and also Access to Work, I have been able to move around within the institution and secure other positions, which allow for inclusion and job satisfaction.”
Sarah has a Support Worker who helps her with mobility issues on campus. She also helps when documents are not accessible, helps when the computer does not work, and completes any documentation which requires a signature. All of this is provided through a government grant through Access to Work for 21 hours a week.
Specialist software is provided which has both magnification and speech options for Sarah to use daily. She uses the speech element extensively as it allows her to complete work-related tasks independently.
“As a screen reader user, I will give feedback when I have been asked to test new items such as changes to new automated techniques and documentation for events such as the Diversity Conference. Therefore, I am helping other colleagues across the University.
It is important that diverse individuals come together to share their experiences, both good and bad, to be able to feed back into the UCLan system to ensure the continuation of a welcoming and empowering environment within.”