From education to employment

Blind media student, who learns thanks to braille on studio radio controls, celebrates #NationalBrailleWeek

A teenager is proving that people can do anything, if they put their mind to it, by going into his second year as a media student at Cambridge Regional College.

Budding sports radio presenter and Spurs fan, Matthew O’Leary, says the support he has received has been beyond his expectations and is urging anyone else with disabilities to take on the challenge to follow their dreams.

Among the supportive additions to his learning package have been braille stickers, which tutors put on the radio equipment, to help Matthew in his dream of becoming a sports radio presenter.

“One of the most important additions has been the braille on the radio studio controls. It means I feel confident in what I am doing,” said Matthew, deputy president of the college’s Student Union.

Matthew, 17, who created a Podcast for disabled young people during his first year at CRC, added: “If people think they can’t do something, I would say this – there is no such word as can’t. There is always a way. I’ve proved it by doing this course for a year and now going into the second year.”

The college says that Matthew’s story shows the importance of celebrating National Braille Week which raises awareness of the importance of braille and other alternative formats that open up the written world to people with vision impairment. National Braille Week, organised by charity Royal Blind, is from 7 -13 October.

Matthew is a huge football fan and a passionate Tottenham Hotspurs supporter. He hopes to work in radio in sports presenting. He has been blind from birth but can see light so is able to make out shapes and form.

“College has been a very good place to be,” Matthew said. “The support here has been very good, the students friendly and members of staff beyond my expectations.”

Formerly a student at Comberton Village College, St Neots, Matthew said: “I’m really into radio, so learning how to use the equipment has been my favourite part of college.

“Using studio technology and having help on how to adapt to my disability has been great. My dream job would be working in a radio station preferably presenting. I listen to radio a lot. I never thought that one day I could actually do it but being at CRC has made me realise I can. I’m a huge football fan and can talk for hours about it.”

“If anybody is out there thinking should they come to college and how it is being here with disabilities I would say, go for it. There are people here who support you and can help you get the best out of yourself.”

His tutor Ben Carr said: “Matthew is the perfect example of what students can achieve with dedication and determination. We are very proud of him.”

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