Why is it Difficult for Deaf People to Gain Employment and Support?
Published: Feb 20th, 2016
Are 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.
If 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.
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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