Fragrance houses recruit visually impaired students in key positions


Fragrance companies provide employment to visually impaired students of a new perfumery course

Following the publication of research indicating a heightened level of odour perception amongst the visually impaired; several fragrance companies have now provided employment to students of a new specifically designed perfumery course.

Research conducted by CPL Aromas and the Blind Persons Association during 2011 clearly showed significantly heightened levels of odour perception in the visually impaired. The research was published in the industry journal Perfumer & Flavorist in February 2012. Based on these findings, the Department of Cosmetics and Perfumery in Mumbai agreed to design a course for the visually impaired that would give skills and training to work in the fragrance industry.

Ten candidates were enrolled into the four month course which provided a rudimentary knowledge of fragrance identification and odour evaluation with a basic grounding in raw materials commonly used in the fragrance industry. Training was also provided on the computer programme Jaws, often used by the visually impaired in the work place.

Having successfully completed the Perfumery course at V.G. Vaze College, five of the students have been able to find full time employment in the fragrance industry in India directly as a result of this research and subsequent training course.

S.H. Kelkar & Co, CPL Aromas and Aero Pharma have all employed visually impaired students as evaluators, while Anthea Aromatics have recruited one of the students in its Quality Control department.

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A second four month course is currently underway at the college, with a new batch of students enrolled and seeking opportunities in the fragrance industry. CPL Aromas says that the initiative has provided tangible results, and "demonstrates the exceptional abilities of the visually impaired when it comes to identifying and distinguishing complex odours." "The students now employed in the Indian fragrance industry had found it extremely difficult to find skilled work, whereas now they have the opportunity to become experts in a very technical and potentially rewarding industry."