London Vision stories: Wayne Chapman

Wayne Chapman told us a bit about himself, his hobbies and interests, upbringing and education, past careers, and about how he got involved in the internship programme at TPT.

“Looking for a job and applying for a job is so much harder than actually doing one.”

Wayne has joined the Evidence and Policy team at the Thomas Pocklington Trust as an intern after a lengthy stretch of unemployment. He boasts a varied and impressive work history, and gave London Vision an interview where we talked about how his sight loss has impacted his working life.

Born in Norfolk, Wayne has been blind from birth due to Rubella and attended School for the Blind in Kent before transferring to a mainstream sixth form where his talent for languages shone. He found that he adjusted well to mainstream education, however he had to write his homework out twice; once in Braille for himself and once typed for his teachers to mark!

After leaving education at 19, Wayne made the brave decision to move to London and “just get out there and work”

He trained as a multilingual switchboard operator and started his career at The Independent newspaper for 5 years until he was unfortunately made redundant. He used the opportunity to move to France to teach blind students French at the University Catholique de Lille , and next he challenged himself to work for the CHR Hospital switchboard in Lille which comprised of 7 hospitals, 15 medical schools and 20 laboratories.

Wayne came back to the UK and secured employment at the RNIB, where he performed a number of roles that stretched over a period of 13 years which sadly ended with redundancy.

After this Wayne got straight back out there very quickly, but unfortunately didn’t have the best experience with one role, so decided he would move on after a year.   Unfortunately Wayne then experienced a long period of unemployment for a number of years part from a brief stint back at the RNIB.  On this Wayne said “I was very proud to be the first blind person working in fundraising at the RNIB, however I left after 5 months due to software not being accessible enough.

At London Vision we felt that it really showed how much courage and determination Wayne has,

As after such a long struggle to find employment Wayne kept looking until he found his way on to his success securing his current internship.  The internship is 6 months and Wayne describes himself as “absolutely elated to be in work again”. He describes himself as a “hard worker”,

Adding “We’re all put on this Earth to work”

Wayne’s tips on interview preparation: “Every interview style is quite different! Realistically you can’t prepare for everything.” but Wayne believes it’s most important to read through the job description thoroughly and tailor your cover letter to the role, ensuring to put your best foot forward and presenting yourself as confident and eloquent and most importantly “very employable!”

Wayne oozes confidence and is wonderfully likeable. He is a great example of why Visually Impaired people should feel confident in their skills. We asked the age old question: when you apply for a job do you declare your sight loss? Wayne said “it depends on the job!” if it is more likely to get you into the interview room, declare or don’t declare. Make sure that you declare if you are given an equal opportunities form, but don’t stress that your CV must contain everything about you. Your CV’s purpose is to get you into the interview room, after that it’s your time to shine!

His hobbies include keeping up with his 4 languages (French, German, Italian and Spanish) on international radio, travelling, reading, identifying bird calls (he’s quite the keen ornithologist!)  And also enjoys singing in his local Catholic Church choir.

We’d like to thank Wayne for speaking to us at London Vision, and we wish him the very best in his future.