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Service Co-ordinator for deaf people

Daniel Clements, Service Co-ordinator supporting deaf young people into employment at the Royal Association for Deaf People (RAD), shares his insights.

Service co-ordinator for deaf people at an exhibition

How do you support deaf young people into employment?

We provide bespoke support delivered to deaf young people in their first language, whether that’s sign language or speech. Together we create a pathway designed around the individual to help them set realistic goals and achieve their aspirations.

We can offer support via one-to-one meetings (including webcam sessions) and through group work. There are opportunities to take part in skills and information workshops and we help deaf young people build their CVs, navigate the job application process and understand the Government’s Access to Work scheme.

We also support employers so new recruits can sustain their employment.

What types of deaf young people do you work with?

We aim to support deaf people of all ages in the UK. This includes all levels of deafness and education, from those with none or few qualifications to those with degrees. We also help those looking to work whilst in education.

When and how might a deaf young person come to you for support?

We accept self-referrals and referrals from other organisations and professionals. Initially we have an informal chat with the young person so we can better understand their needs and current situation. This allows us to make sure they are appointed an appropriate support worker.

What sort of support can you offer a deaf young person?

The support varies depending on the needs of the individual and continues for as long as it’s needed. We encourage weekly support with tasks set between sessions, as well as offering fortnightly and monthly support depending on the individual’s needs.

If a young person moves into employment and this isn’t working for whatever reason, we can support both the employer and the individual further.

What sorts of jobs are young people you work with usually aiming for?

Young people have a wide range of aspirations and we’ve supported them to get jobs in:

  • interior design
  • construction
  • supermarkets
  • fashion
  • marketing
  • social care
  • teaching.

What’s most challenging about your role?

Sometimes it’s hard to make sure interviews and assessments are adapted and, if needed, supported with an interpreter. As interview dates can be set at short notice, there is then very little time for adaptations, making them harder to put in place.

We work hard with employers to reduce workplace barriers so deaf young people can successfully secure and sustain employment.

What’s most enjoyable?

Seeing what young people have achieved, both short and long term, after receiving our support. Looking back at their journeys and seeing that, despite barriers and obstacles, their achievements were worth it.

Do you have any tips for deaf young people currently seeking employment?

Set your goals and grab every opportunity. If you come across any issues or barriers remember these can be overcome. Your journey doesn’t have to be fixed; it can change with you.

Seek all the information you can about possible careers so you can choose a job that really works for you and matches your skills and experience.