Eddy is a credit risk consultant working in London, he has a first class honours degree from the University of Birmingham, is a keen runner and self-taught pianist. Eddy also has glaucoma, a condition he was diagnosed with from birth.
Eddy’s parents decided to send him to a mainstream primary school, which also had a vision impairment resource base. He says “this was a good start to my education journey as I had the experience of mainstream immersion which developed me socially and I was also able to learn how to touch type and other skills which were more focused around my impairment”.
Eddy decided to go to a mainstream secondary school, but experienced difficulties during his time there “I had little to no support, so I struggled to access things that I needed in terms of education and provision. I was initially put in the bottom sets of groups, which was really frustrating, just because I had a vision impairment they assumed that I wouldn’t be able to access and understand the curriculum”.
Eddy experienced a knockback just before he was due to take his GCSEs, suffering a retinal detachment where he lost a lot of his remaining useable vision, “after this I had even less sight, so I knew after I’d finished my GCSEs that I wanted to go to a residential college for people with a vision impairment, so I could put myself in the best position to get into a good university”.
Eddy studied at the University of Birmingham in 2015 after gaining three A- levels in Business, English Literature and Sociology. He studied a BSc Business Management with a year in industry, where he undertook a placement in Cardiff for Lloyds Banking Group as a pricing analyst. Eddy says, “securing my placement opened up so many doors for me and it gave me the confidence that I am employable and made me much more prepared for my final year”. Reflecting on his time at University, Eddy says “overall, I really enjoyed University, I was lucky to make really good friends on my course and I was also heavily involved in athletics”. Eddy joined the athletics club in his first year and went on to become the Treasurer in his second year. In 2015, Eddy ran the London Marathon for VICTA, a charity who support young people and adults with vision impairment and raised over £2,000.
Eddy has been involved in VICTAR’s longitudinal study for almost 10 years, which he deems as a really valuable experience “the research has given me the opportunity to reflect, benchmark and collate the experiences I’ve had throughout my time in education”. In his final year, Eddy was one of thirteen students involved in a roundtable event organised by VICTAR and Thomas Pocklington Trust on Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) with Universities Minister the Rt Hon Chris Skidmore MP, following the launch of the Our Right to Study report, which highlights the issues faced by students with vision impairment in England when accessing and using DSA. Eddy says “it was a great discussion to be a part of. I feel like the range of young people with vision impairment who attended and were able to share their experiences gave a true representation of the challenges faced at University.”
He continues “it was really promising to see how receptive the Minister seemed to be, especially as he had a vested interest in the topic.” Eddy continued to share how important it is for policy makers and the higher education sector to really listen to disabled voices “policy makers need to try to start from scratch when devising ways to make education more inclusive instead of attempting to mould existing practises to work for those who have a vision impairment- you wouldn’t modify a car to be able to float, you’d build a boat; I feel like this principle applies to adjustments at University”.
Looking forward, Eddy would like to progress in his field and continue to push himself to achieve “big things and work towards ambitious goals”. He’d also like to get involved in projects that help other visually impaired graduates get into high performing employment as he believes that “the fulfilment in the workplace is something many VI people are missing out on.”