Why is it Difficult for Deaf People to Gain Employment and Support?

Published: Feb 20th, 2016

deaf person using laptop to look for employmentAre you deaf or hard of hearing, and are finding it difficult to get work? Have you visited your local Job Centre to get employment support but found it unhelpful?

In this article an anonymous writer talks about their experience as an unemployed deaf person signing on, and what it’s like trying to get the disability employment support and advice needed.

Due to several budgets cuts and lack support, it’s sad to say that there’s a large number of deaf people out of work. Many are finding it difficult to gain employment in several sectors, in both private and public.

As a deaf person, this is the difficulty I am facing now, and I am only getting interviews because I continue to fight hard and stay positive. If you are deaf and looking for work, it’s not going to be easy, but keep on trying you will get there.

Job Centre Plus and Go Train Experience

When I filled in the Universal Credit form online (this is the monthly payment replacing Job Seeker’s Allowance), I noticed there wasn’t a section provided where I could mention my disability. After I completed it, I was sent to advisor – one who wasn’t specifically trained to offer advice to the disabled. They didn’t know I was deaf until a family member told them by telephone. I could not tell them myself because the Job Centre does not have a special telephone number the deaf – even though everything telephone-based nowadays. 

Unfortunately the Job Centre did not offer me any extra support or advice after finding out I was deaf. My advisor gave me no information on how to gain suitable employment or where to get disability advice. They only seemed interested in putting me on a course with Go Train for Customer Service with work experience. I went on the course, but I felt isolated and was very unhappy. The staff at Go Train were helpful, but were unable to provide the support I needed. Unfortunately they were in a hurry to complete the course in a short space of time so could not dedicate more time and effort to helping me.

deaf person getting employment support in an officeIf you have a similar experience going through the Job Centre, ask your advisor to put you through to a specialist
Disabled Employment advisor. You can talk to these professionals about your prospects and how to find suitable employment that meets your needs.

One downside is, the Job Centre does not provide an interpreter. Nor does Go Train. This can make it even more difficult for deaf people to get the support they need. Ask your advisor what support you are allowed to have when you go to these training courses and find out what are your rights are. If you simply go through the Job Centre or Go Train, you will not be able to access an interpreter at all.

Employment Agencies

If you want to get temporary employment through employment agencies, look for ones with Equal Opportunities on their policies. I also advise you to go and meet professionals face to face to discuss suitable work you can do. Don’t let them put you off by saying that you can’t do this or that. Stand firm and say I can. Be positive! Don’t let your disability get you down!

I know it’s hard but keep on trying. There are good agencies out there – it’s just a matter of finding the right ones. Some of the agencies, pretend to be interested to put you on their books but for some reason don’t contact you or put you forward for potential roles. Keep pressuring them to find you a placement – by emailing or telephoning using NGT. By doing this, I eventually managed to find a placement.

Ultimately, if you’ve got the skills and experience, they will want you. Be positive and keep on fighting to get a job. Stand up for yourself, don’t let anyone bring you down.

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4 Responses to “Why is it Difficult for Deaf People to Gain Employment and Support?”

  1. Penelope Beschizza says:

    Anyone who has to go through the route as the deaf person did in his/her article above, PLEASE keep a diary – any way that suits you, a book diary, a folder in your smartphone / computer, etc., to log in the dates, times, communications and tasks.

    Those details are important when eventually the Government, especially the DWP, is called to account on accessibility issues for deaf & disabled users of the welfare reforms.

    Everyone seeking work – especially deaf & disabled people – deserve to attain training and work with minimum stress and minimum waiting, thus enabling the economy to kick in positively.

  2. susie stevenson says:

    I looked at the booklet for money that could be paid to me as I am deaf. I am not registered disabled , I never looked at myself at being deaf. but after reading the info I felt that i was not deaf enough and the criteria they had for being deaf since birth was insulting . Unless you are deaf you do not have a bloody clue as to how I feel….

  3. nick says:

    hi we are an employer, window cleaning business using the pole system with no ladders, actively looking to employ deaf people. we are doing this because we want to help deaf people into work with a job that they can easily do. it is a win for all involved.
    but we struggle to engage with the deaf community and to find candidates.
    Anyone got any ideas as to how we can find deaf people looking for work in our geographic location who like to do this kind of work?

  4. richard turner says:

    everywhere needs to change hiring practices it would be much easier…im not registered disabled…it how they treats us like 3rd class citizenship…deaf communities suffering for thousand years impaging what happened 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 thousands years worth of sufferings…if someone read this and say it not true ..get a life give deaf communities chances to prove they can work.

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