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Vision Support is a long established Regional Charity recognised as the leading provider of local support and services to people of all ages with a vision impairment in Cheshire and North Wales. Established in 1876, our mission is to promote the continuing independence of individuals living with sight loss and to raise awareness of the needs of people with a vision impairment living within our local communities. Work Based Learning has been a very positive experience for Vision Support and all the students involved have completed their tasks and projects satisfactorily.

How has the student’s role added value and benefit to your organisation?

The students bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm to the organisation. In addition to completing tasks and adding capacity to the organisation they also have the advantage of being taught the latest technology and research techniques which they can share with their placement provider.

Can you offer advice to other organisations considering hosting second year undergraduates on work placement?

It is a good idea to plan effectively for the placement and agree a list of clearly defined objectives and tasks. Making time for the students at the beginning of the placement so they get appropriate support is crucial to the placement’s success. Continued support in a friendly and encouraging workplace environment is also important to increase confidence as is allocating tasks which are appropriate to the level of the student’s skills. It is also valuable for their learning to not be too risk adverse and allocate tasks which give them scope to use their initiative and try out new ideas.

What would you say are the most important skills and qualities you look for in a prospective employee?

Excellent communication skills, an active listener, empathy, able to plan, prioritise and deliver tasks effectively. Able to work as part of a team, strong IT skills, understanding of confidentiality. Creative thinker.

Do you think it is important for students to undergo Work Based Learning during their studies?

Yes extremely valuable.