Tina Rafferty Aspire to Be Manager
Tina Rafferty Aspire to Be Manager

We are so excited to reveal that our specialist employability service for adults, previously known as SES, has expanded its offering and is now known as Aspire to Be! Here in our latest blog, Tina Raffety, who has been adult’s service manager for more than five years, gives an insight into her role, the expertise Doncaster Deaf Trust has developed in specialist adult services over the years as well as telling us more about Aspire to Be. 

It’s incredibly exciting that the specialist employability service for adults is growing and now has the wonderful new name of Aspire to Be. Managed by us here at Doncaster Deaf Trust, we have developed a national reputation for providing support to people with additional communication needs in particular those who are deaf/hard of hearing. 

Aspire to Be, which covers the whole of the Sheffield City region, works in partnership with The Growth Company alongside referring agencies such as local authorities and various housing associations and has a fantastic, experienced and dedicated team who offer service users aged 19 and over a bespoke individualised plan. This plan incorporates health and wellbeing alongside employability and aims to enhance skills to provide the tools needed to help people find and stay in employment.  

Our team, who are all BSL users, has more than 80 years of combined experience supporting adults with specialist needs, and out of all providers providing a specialist adult service, we have had the most clients who have started a job and then stayed in work for 26 weeks or longer. This is testament to our staff and how hard the people who progress through this service work to reach their potential.  

A key part of our success is the relationships we have built over the years with a wide range of businesses up and down the country. We work hard not only to support our customers and service users but also the organisations we partner with, and we are always looking to connect with them more.

I enjoy being part of the Aspire to Be service because having worked in the welfare to work industry for many years following set criteria due to high volumes of referrals, support becomes  ‘one size fits all scenarios’ and one in and one out. That was no fun! And of course, all individuals require different and varied help into employment which is what we are able to deliver.

Here at Doncaster Deaf Trust we pride ourselves in working with smaller groups so that barriers can be identified and addressed early on. Seeing a person develop in confidence and ready to enter the world of work is awe inspiring and as a team, we are passionate about what we do and the Trust allows us the flexibility to achieve this. 

What is our fundamental goal of this enhanced service? Our sole purpose is to promote independence so the transition for people into employment runs smoothly. This is best delivered by offering bespoke planning for each individual that’s flexible in delivery. We believe social skills and social interaction are as important as formal learning, and we embrace challenge and adapt accordingly. While our specialist employability service provides qualifications and employability, the expanded Aspire to Be service also now offers more vocational and enterprise opportunities alongside constructive life skills to become more independent and lead into employment. So, we are providing more of a full package of holistic support.  

This relaunch is very exciting and important as it captures every aspect of what and who we are. Our innovative service will always adapt to people’s needs and we hope that other services will want to mirror that.  We give those with communication issues a voice and we teach others to hear by thinking outside of the box.

To find out more about Aspire to Be, please contact 01302 386711, email: julie.wright@cscd.ac.uk or tina.rafferty@cscd.ac.uk or visit www.deaf-trust.co.uk/employability