Lockton Insurance recently hosted a professional development event in collaboration with Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) held at Lockton’s offices, the St Botolph building in London.

The purpose of the event was to support blind and partially sighted people to improve their employment prospects. Staff members from TPT, Birmingham Vision and London Vision attended the event. The agenda included keynote speaker Charlie Coyle, a technology demonstration, as well as CV guidance, interview practice and workshops into the afternoon.

Keynote speaker Charlie Coyle, a former intern at TPT and now People Project Officer at the Department for International Trade, opened the event where he spoke about his career to date, including how he made the most of the opportunities available to him, transitioning with each new job. Charlie’s journey was informative and key to understanding how effectively he has moved across roles and organisations to enhance his own career prospects. Martin Sigsworth, Senior Employment Manager at TPT gave a technology demonstration about using apps such as Seeing AI, to help with completing tasks such as reading out documents and providing audio description of photographs. Martin said that he found it particularly useful as an icebreaker in social settings to help engage with sighted users.

Lockton staff provided CV guidance to help attendees create an impressive CV, and they also held mock interviews with attendees to build confidence in their interview technique, giving personalised feedback. The event, now in its second year, was deemed a success by Lockton’s Strategic Account Manager Andy Bear, who said:

“With the mock interviews the attendees get a chance to practice their new skills in a realistic environment. At Lockton we gain valuable insights into the challenges that blind and partially sighted people face and the skills they [blind and partially sighted people] could bring to the workplace.”

In the late afternoon sessions, workshops were run by former RNIB deputy CEO Fazielt Hadi who focused on becoming comfortable utilising a blind or partially sighted identity in the workplace. Steph Cutler, Head of Employment at TPT also ran a workshop, engaging with delegates sharing the benefits of building a professional network to find work and develop a career.

The event enabled attendees to be better prepared for the recruitment process, increasing their confidence and improving their technique. Patricia, a finance intern from TPT who attended the event, said:

“The mock interview was good experience. I recognise I was nervous. But it was really enlightening. I just started reading a book called, ‘English for hunting jobs” to improve my English communication skills. Listening to other people that have experienced the same struggles as me, gave me the confidence that I am not the only one.”

TPT hopes to work in collaboration with more organisations to host similar events in the future, to build confidence in professional development for blind and partially sighted people.