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EY held a non-sight challenge for International Day for People with Disability

19 December 2016

EY is committed to creating an inclusive culture, as we firmly believe that the best workplaces are formed of diverse teams. International Day for People with Disability is an important date in the calendar, and we marked it by holding a non-sight challenge. We hoped the very tangible activity would raise awareness and help our people start a conversation around disability. It also offered the opportunity to promote our excellent employee network Ability EY.

The challenge involved a volunteer wearing a ‘blinder’, which completely blocks out their vision whilst navigating their lunch hour, with the help of a seeing ‘buddy’. The inspiration behind this challenge came from one of our founders, Arthur Young, who was deaf and had low vision. Although he originally trained as a lawyer, his disabilities made it difficult to practice in the courtroom. In response, he turned to the new field of accounting where he could leverage his skills and training in alternate ways. He became an entrepreneur and innovator not despite his disabilities, but because of them.

The challenge allowed individuals to experience first-hand the difficulties that many face in the workplace. The feedback was very positive, and really helped those involved to appreciate the difficulties that people with disabilities have to contend with. This really demonstrates the importance of a supportive environment from employers to minimise the roadblocks and make reasonable adjustments.

“Doing everyday activities became a real challenge and you had to put 100% trust in your buddy and try and rely on your other senses guide you.” - Graduate

“It really was a valuable experience, not only in experiencing some of the challenges faced by others and how we could better support them, but it’s also a great way to build a relationship with your buddy and team.” – Senior Manager

“Doing this prompted a broader conversation within my team about our own personal experiences with disability; I found out about my colleagues non-sighted grandfather, another person in the team told how they were partially sighted and a third told me about their brother’s longer term health condition. It’s quite amazing when you scratch under the surface how many people have a link to or are personally affected by disability.” – Associate Director

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