In our latest blog, Neil Keeton, Aspire to Be's employment liaison manager, explains how engaging with employers can create job opportunities for people with communication difficulties.
A vital part of what we do at Aspire to Be is empowering our service users to learn about the world of work. We want to ensure that anyone who is capable of working has the chance to do so.
I have worked for Doncaster Deaf Trust for nearly six years and my role involves liaising with employers to find potential opportunities for clients. It also includes making sure our clients are ready for each stage of the job application process and then supporting them after they enter the workplace.
For too long, some organisations have ignored candidates with a disability because they see employing them as too big a challenge. That is such a shame because so many of our clients have proved how adaptable, capable and valuable they can be in a workplace – they just need to be given an opportunity.
When I speak to employers, I explain how easy it is to employ adults who are deaf, hard of hearing or who have communication needs. I offer deaf awareness training so companies can seamlessly integrate our clients into their organisation.
We don't want to waste anyone's time, so before submitting an application I make sure our clients are 100% capable of doing the job. Once the client reaches the interview stage, I conduct a mock interview with them to ensure they are fully prepared. The process doesn't end once a client goes into the world of work. I am still there to help and support them after they start a role.
Some of the people we work with might not be ready to enter the workplace full-time. So I also setup work experience and volunteering positions. This gives people more confidence and boosts their self esteem while at the same time providing experience for their CV.
Our relationships with employers like Mercure Doncaster Danum, British Heart Foundation, are crucial because they offer our service users real-life, practical experience. We are grateful for their support and always looking for employers in any sector who want to join our unique employability programme.
People with disabilities are an underutilised pool of talent. One of the best parts of my job is showing employers how our clients can be an integral part of any workplace.
If you are an employer or want to find out more about Aspire to Be, please contact 01302 386711, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.deaf-trust.co.uk/employability