If you are managing an acute illness, have a disability or an impairment, a supportive employer and a flexible workplace can make all the difference to your success.

I started working at First Ark Group in 2014, as a governance administrative assistant, however, sadly my eyesight began to deteriorate three years ago. I went from being an employee that wore glasses, to one with blurred vision and a narrowing visual field. After my sight worsened due to a neurological condition called optic nerve hypoplasia, which results in the degeneration of the cranial and occipital nerve, I became the organisation’s first visually impaired member of staff.

For me to flourish in my role I needed many adaptions in the office to accommodate my impairment, not least adjusting to the fact I had a new partner in crime - my guide dog, George. On a daily basis he accompanies me to meetings, guides me to the kitchen to make drinks and I take him for a walk every lunch time.

I waited for a year to pick him up and we began our partnership by both going on an intensive three-week course. His training was specifically adapted so that he could behave appropriately in an office environment. Working with our health and safety team, we installed a dog bed and water station in a suitable space, so he has a designated space and doesn’t disturb other staff.

My office space was adapted to accommodate my sight. Following advice from Access to Work, a government programme aimed at supporting disabled people to take up or remain in work, First Ark Group were happy to fund the new technology and tools I needed to aid me in my role as a business support assistant. ‘Zoom Text’ was installed on my computer, which magnifies all text and has a talk-back feature, so that I can ‘hear’ what I’m reading and typing. Now my PC has a darker background, as I find it difficult to read on white screens and my keyboard is non-reflective, with a black frame and yellow keys.

My employer [Knowsley Housing Trust] is a unique social impact business in Knowsley, which provides life changing opportunities for our customers and inspires the communities in which we work. Being an inclusive organisation and generating social value is at the core of everything we do. After speaking to friends and family about the core values and purpose of their workplaces I know many companies could learn a lot from us and should replicate our model.

More organisations need to remember that there are so many advantages to having a diverse workforce - a range of people help increase creativity, as employees from different backgrounds have new ideas, it improves community relations, staff can relate to customers and it helps to develop an empathetic workforce.

An encouraging employer is essential, and a person’s condition should not be a barrier to excelling in a role. Yes, adaptions may have to be made but if an organisation invests in you and you receive support from government programmes like Access to Work, you’re more likely to commit to them in the long term.

Equality is key, and the housing sector has always been known for its inclusivity which reflects our customers and society at-large. Different life experiences mean many of us can relate to a range of stakeholders.

Advances in technology have allowed for a level playing field in the workplace and greater inclusivity. You contribute the same value to an organisation as any other employee, perhaps more, as you can comprehend the experiences of many customers.

Helen Brady, Business Support Assistant at First Ark Group

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The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

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FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

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In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

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FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

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The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

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