Fujitsu has announced that the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) will become the company’s official charity partner. The partnership, which will last for two years, will see the ICT provider and charity actively collaborate on a number of volunteering, technical and advocacy initiatives to benefit people with sight loss.

As part of its ongoing work, the NCBI aims to reduce the unemployment rate of working-age people with sight loss, an overall goal that is reflected in the main elements of the partnership which include the following.

· Awareness Session: NCBI will hold interactive sessions for Fujitsu employees designed to increase awareness and understanding of sight loss, teach sighted guide training and offer the opportunity to experience living with sight loss via simulation. The workshops will also serve to identify accessibility barriers and potential solutions.

· Disability Training: NCBI will host interactive training sessions designed to support Fujitsu employees in becoming more inclusive of employees with disabilities.

· Skill Share and Visionary Workshops: Fujitsu will work with NCBI to organise a series of workshops to provide people with sight loss the opportunity to discover what employers are looking for, as well as sharing skills in areas such as communications and finance.

· Work Placement Programme: Building on the awareness and disability training programme, Fujitsu and NCBI will work to develop a platform that offers people with sight loss an opportunity to bridge the gap between education and employment via tangible work placement opportunities.

Fujitsu employees will also collaborate to produce audio recordings of well-known publications which will add to the 16,000 titles already available to people with sight loss from NCBI’s national Braille, audio and large print library.

Commenting on the partnership, Tony O’Malley CEO Fujitsu Ireland stated; “This is a very positive new relationship for Fujitsu Ireland. We strive to provide technology solutions that are human-centric for people’s everyday lives, and we are delighted to work with an organisation that is making a difference to people and broader communities all over Ireland. This will be an active partnership as there is a great deal we can learn from the NCBI in enabling people with sight loss to realise their potential within the work environment.”

Chris White, CEO of NCBI said; “There are 51,718 people with sight loss in Ireland and the unemployment rate is as high as 84%, which is shocking. People with sight loss want to fully participate in society and we aim to break down some of the barriers that stand in their way. We are excited to begin a two-year partnership with a solution-focused company like Fujitsu and we are confident that it will benefit both of our organisations as we share knowledge and expertise to drive change.”

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