Minister for Business Visits Scottish Braille Press

Posted: 19/11/2015 |

Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism, paid a visit to the Scottish Braille Press to learn more about their successful work as a supported employer. 

Fergus Ewing MSP with large print documentSupported businesses provide employment for disabled people. The Scottish Braille Press employs not only visually impaired people but also people with other physical disabilities and mental health issues.

Less than 50% of working age people with disabilities are employed. It is widely recognised that supported employment programmes are crucial to ensure that disabled people can gain meaningful employment as they provide the additional training and support that disabled people require. Supported employment is currently assisted by funding from a Department of Work and Pensions programme called Work Choice. This funding will be devolved to the Scotish Government next year. 

A long standing champion of supported employment, Mr Ewing displayed a keen interest in talking with staff at the Scottish Braille Press and touring the premises. He was interested to learn that 96.5% of the Scottish Braille Press's income came from commercial activities, with only 3.5% from grants for supported employment. Mr Ewing seemed keen to encourage opportunities for business expansion within the supported employment sector to ensure less dependency on grants and more income from commercial activities.

After seeing how the Scottish Braille Press produces Braille, large print and audio, Mr Ewing was shown the latest business development by the Scottish Braille Press - the new commercial shredding service. A recent contract from Edinburgh City Council for commercial shredding resulted in the Scottish Braille Press being able to provide employment for an additional visually impaired worker.