Fragrance House Recruits Visually Impaired Students in Key Positions


The second batch of students have begun a course designed to help the visually impaired enter the fragrance industry, following ground-breaking research that showed that the blind and partially sighted often have an enhanced sense of smell.

The course was set up after research in 2011 by international fragrance house CPL Aromas and the Blind Persons Association (Mumbai) clearly showed signicantly heightened levels of odour perception in the visually impaired. The research was published in the industry journal Perfumer & Flavorist in February 2012, which led the Department of Cosmetics and Perfumery, V.G. Vaze College in Mumbai to agree to set up the course.

As well as the skills needed to identify and evaluate the raw materials used to create fragrances, the students were taught the basics of the JAWS computer program, which allows the visually impaired to use everyday computers. Special course materials were compiled in braille.

The first batch of five graduates, who previously survived by doing odd jobs or relying on hand-outs, went on to find jobs in the fragrance industry in 2012, offering the promise of a better, self-sufficient future for themselves and their families.

And now a second batch of students has embarked on the four-month course, following a careful selection procedure carried out by CPL Aromas India and V.G. Vaze College.

“We’re always looking for ways to help the community, so when our research rst demonstrated that we had an opportunity to not only help the partially sighted, but to create better products in the process, we were delighted,” said Chris Pickthall, Group Managing Director of CPL Aromas.

He added, “V.G. Vaze College was founded by a businessman who made his fortune in fragrances, so they were incredibly supportive in setting up the course. Of the rst ve graduates, all quickly found jobs in the industry, including one who went on to work at CPL Aromas. We have had to adapt some of our equipment and processes, such as labelling cabinets in braille, but that’s been a small price to pay to not only gain a highly valued member of the team, but to help him be self-sucient rather than relying on odd jobs to get by.”