First Deaf Graduate Assessment Scheme – A pioneering success with Global Professional Services Firm EY

Published: Jun 1st, 2017

On 20 April 2017, Deaf Unity and EY ran a very successful mock Deaf Graduate Assessment Centre at EY’s offices in London. The assessors were very impressed with the performance of the Deaf candidates and the exercise proved to be a huge learning experience for everyone involved. Following, this event, Deaf Unity and EY will soon be jointly producing a report on the experience of the assessment centre on how assessment centres can be improved to promote good practice for assessment.Deaf Unity EY

The exercises were held entirely in British Sign Language with each participant having his or her own interpreter. The participants were assessed using EY’s assessment criteria to evaluate how accessible Graduate Assessment Centres are for Deaf Graduates. Participants took part in a team discussion about the role of EY which involved giving a short presentation, a networking lunch, and a written exercise. The day was a great learning opportunity for everyone involved which identified and proposed solutions to barriers for Deaf graduates taking part in assessment centres. The participants all received feedback on their performance on how they can perform better at assessment centres and in turn improve their careers in both deaf and mainstream environments. They were encouraged to apply for many of EY’s Graduate Programmes across the UK (

Deaf Unity is hugely grateful for the support of EY whom has provided tremendous support for making this vision a reality and getting this scheme of the ground. EY has enabled the opportunity to develop good practice guidance which we hope will become an industry leader. We very much hope that this would encourage more deaf people to reach higher levels of employment. EY are seeking a range of deaf graduates for their mainstream assessment centres and very much welcome deaf graduates to apply. EY has been the first major employer to involve deaf people in the design of their assessment schemes.

Deaf Unity has been working hard to develop a range of innovative and exciting activities to develop the educational and employment attainment of the Deaf Community in partnership with a range of organisations working in the voluntary, public, and private sectors. EY has provided tremendous support for making this vision a reality and getting this scheme off the ground. It has been the first major employer to involve deaf people in the design of its assessment schemes.

Emma Henderson, the student recruitment Manager for EY said “the day was a huge learning curve for the student recruitment team and posed new challenges, such as working with interpreters and adapting our exercises appropriately. As a result, we will have a better perspective when making adjustments for deaf candidates going forward. At EY, we understand that every individual has equally individual requirements — and that as an employer, we’ll only tap into our people’s very best performance if we embrace and enable these differences.

Ben Knighton joined EY as a Graduate nine years ago and now co-chairs EY’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Network which sits under the umbrella of Ability EY, the Firm’s overarching disability network. “I’ve found EY to be very accommodating, providing support whenever I’ve needed it. I have sign language interpreters who come with me when I attend training courses and a palantypist who converts speech to text during conference calls and other meetings which helps me to participate.

Abdi Gas, Deaf Unity’s Director said “I am delighted that EY has been the first major employer to take on this innovative initiative which is the first of its kind. EY shares Deaf Unity’s vision to tackle the chronic under and unemployment of the Deaf Community through improved employer and community engagement. EY has supported Deaf Unity’s work and vision in many ways from taking on 7 promising deaf accountants following the 2014 Deaf Careers Fair; organising a reception evening for deaf people who work in the finance industry; hosting a stall at our 2016 Deaf and Disability Careers Fair; and hosting their own deaf network in house. Deaf Unity hopes to develop and strengthen its relationship with EY to develop and deliver many more exciting learning and development and career development projects for deaf and hard of hearing people in the near future”

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One Response to “First Deaf Graduate Assessment Scheme – A pioneering success with Global Professional Services Firm EY”

  1. Cathy Lovell says:

    Good morning,
    My name is Cathy and I am lead careers adviser with the Open University for Diversity. We have a large number of hearing impaired students and I am very interested to see the report produced by EY and yourselves, following the assessment centre event.

    Will this be made pubicly available? I am hoping to use this, to advise our students and strengthen their job seeking ability and awareness.

    Thank you for your help, it really is appreciated.

    Best wishes,
    Cathy Lovell
    Careers Adviser
    Open University

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