Anglia Ruskin student meets David Blunkett

Published: 2 March 2006 at 12:04

Dissertation supervisors frequently remind undergraduate students of the importance of researching beyond the University Library and the Internet; third-year Anglia Ruskin business student Daniel Barton has certainly taken heed of this advice. Daniel, who is visually impaired, wanted to carry out research into why, according to the RNIB, 75 per cent of visually impaired people are currently unemployed. After undertaking the normal literature searches and sending questionnaires to various individuals and organisations, Daniel felt there needed to be something to complement his research.

He decided to write to former Secretary of State for Education and Employment and former Home Secretary David Blunkett to request an interview. Daniel received a letter from Mr. Blunkett inviting him to attend an interview in April at his offices in Portcullis House, Westminster. Daniel was subsequently afforded a one-to-one interview with Mr. Blunkett, who was more than happy to answer questions and share one or two anecdotes. Daniel found the whole experience very rewarding and feels that he has now been able to add some very rich primary data to his dissertation. 

Commenting on the meeting, Daniel said:

"Due to my visual impairment, I am more than aware of the difficulties facing me as I seek future employment: attitudes towards disabled people, regardless of their obvious abilities and qualifications, still remain blighted by stereotype, ignorance and prejudice."

Daniel went on to say:

"The success of Mr Blunkett, who has held several senior Cabinet posts, is a model for people with visual impairments and the meeting in general has provided me not only with invaluable data for my dissertation, but also a general feeling that I too can soon pursue a successful career.”