Stop discriminating against Deaf job seekers                                                                      

Charity urges businesses in Wales not to ignore deaf job candidates

Businesses in Wales should stop discriminating against job candidates who are deaf or hard of hearing, according to the charity Action on Hearing Loss Cymru.

84,000 working-age people in Wales - enough to fill the Millennium Stadium – are deaf or wear hearing aids. Research from the charity found that many of those people feel they have to hide their condition when applying for vacancies, because they won’t get the same employment opportunities as hearing people.

Action on Hearing Loss Cymru has launched a specialist service to support people who are deaf or have hearing loss to get back into work, the only employment programme of its kind in Wales. The service also offers advice and support to those businesses who want to employ deaf people.

23-year-old Sam Lazenbury from Barry has found work through the charity’s employment programme. Sam is deaf, has a learning disability and a stammer. He said, “Apart from a three-week temporary job I’d been on jobseekers allowance since finishing college in 2013. I was attending interviews but not getting any work and I was very frustrated. I was referred to Action on Hearing Loss Cymru’s employment service by the Job Centre. They supported me to gain work experience and further qualifications to add to my CV.

“They supported me through a number of job applications and interviews and I was so glad to get the letter from Wales Millennium Centre saying I’d been successful in my application to join the catering and hospitality team. I’m grateful to them for giving me a chance. Earning money is great, I’ve even brought myself a new car!”

Anne Baker from Brynmawr is Sam’s line manager at the Wales Millennium Centre. She said, “It’s great to have Sam on the team. He’s a good worker, gets on well with his colleagues and I am able to treat him as one of the team.

“When he started with us we faced a few challenges such as the noise in the kitchen making it difficult for him to hear instructions, but with a small change to his shift pattern we were able to find a way of working that suits him and us.

“Having Sam here means we can educate other team members about communicating with people who have hearing loss too and we’re all learning to make sure we look at Sam when we speak and talk slowly so he can lipread. These are good skills for anyone in the hospitality industry to have.”

Richard Williams, Director of Action on Hearing Loss Cymru said “There is a large demand for this support from deaf people who are struggling to find work.

“Our specialist service is succeeding in helping deaf people into work and we would like to increase our reach by supporting more people across Wales.

 “The team at the Wales Millennium Centre have been supportive and made reasonable adjustments for Sam. We’re often told deaf people can’t do things like work in the hospitality industry. But as Sam has shown, with the right support, deaf employees can be every bit as successful as those who can hear well.”

                                                                             

The charity is looking for funding to be able to increase the employment service across Wales.

Photo Caption

1 – Sam Lazenbury from Barry has been given a job at the Wales Millennium Centre, thanks to Action on Hearing Loss Cymru’s employment service