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How do I find a job?

Photo: Looking for a job can be difficult, but there's lots of information and guidance to help you.

Whether you want to earn a bit of extra money while you study or are ready to start your career, it can be difficult to know where to start when looking for a job. Add to this worries about how being deaf might affect your job search and it may feel overwhelming. However, there is support and lots of information to help you get started and to find the right role for you.

If you have questions that aren’t covered below or need further support then please contact our Helpline.

I'm unemployed, what do I do?

If you are unemployed and looking for a job then your local Jobcentre Plus are a good place to start. Jobcentre Plus is a government-funded employment agency and social security office. Their aim is to help people find jobs in the UK. They are part of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) so they can also help with some benefits, like Universal Credit.

Every Jobcentre Plus has to have a Disability Employment Advisor (DEA) who can provide specialist advice to disabled people and employers. There are a number of schemes across the UK to help disabled people find work. Disability Employment Advisors can give you more information about schemes in your area and refer you on to them. These schemes can help get you ready for work, with training and advice. They can also provide you with support to start work and to stay in your job. 

Through Jobcentre Plus you can also be referred to a specialist work psychologist, if appropriate.

Deafness meets the definition of a disability in the Equality Act (2010) and the Disability Discrimination Act. This means as a deaf young person looking for a job you are entitled to support from a Disability Employment Advisor. Contact your local Jobcentre Plus and ask to meet with a Disability Employment Advisor.

How do I know if an employer is deaf-friendly?

All employers are accountable to the same laws and should not discriminate against you because you are deaf. Understanding your rights can help when you look for a job to make sure you are being treated fairly by employers and given the same chance as someone who isn’t deaf. Check out our information about rights in work. We also have information about what jobs deaf people can do and the few jobs deaf people can’t do, which may also be helpful.

From experience some employers will be more deaf-friendly or deaf-aware than others. A Disability Employment Advisor from Jobcentre Plus may be able to tell you about disability-friendly employers in your area.

You can also look out for the 'disability confident' Two Ticks symbol, which means the employer is committed to employing disabled people. If a job advert displays the symbol, you’ll be guaranteed an interview if you meet the basic requirements of the job.


Should I tell them I'm deaf when I apply for a job?

You don’t have to mention you are deaf when you apply for a job. And employers cannot ask you questions about your health that are unrelated to the job.

Lots of deaf young people worry if they tell an employer they are deaf they could be discriminated against and they’ll be less likely to get a job. The main benefit for telling employers is it gives you more protection under the Equality Act 2010 or Disability Discrimination Act (Ireland). If an employer claims they didn’t know you had a disability then you may have less of a case for discrimination.

It is a good idea to have a think and plan when you might tell an employer.

If they are a ‘disability confident’ employer, telling them you are deaf in your application could get you a guaranteed interview.

If you don’t mention you are deaf when you apply but are then invited to interview, you may want to tell them then. This means you can request any communication support or other access arrangements you might need for the interview. For more information about support in interviews, see below.

Understanding the support available to you in work can help you prepare for how you talk to employers about your deafness. If they haven’t employed a deaf person before they may not be aware of the different technology or communication support available, funding through Access to Work grants or reasonable adjustments. See our tips to help you talk to employers about your deafness.

What support is there for me at interview?

If you need any adjustments or communication support at an interview it is best to tell the employer in advance so arrangements can be made.
Think about what the interview involves and what support you might need.

You could request:
the interview takes place in a quiet room to avoid background noise
additional time for any work based tests
a copy of their questions to refer to during the interview
communication support, such as a BSL interpreter or communication support worker.

Communication support is the only support Access to Work will fund for interviews. You can apply online.

With the right support and adjustments in place you give yourself the best chance of success.

Should I do a traineeship?

Traineeships are for young people living in England or Wales aged between 16-24 who are unemployed, lack experience and haven’t got a Level 3 qualification (A-levels or BTEC National).

Traineeships last from six weeks up to a maximum on six months and aim to move people into an apprenticeship or a job. If you haven’t already got them you can also work towards an English and Maths GCSE. They also teach you CV writing skills while preparing you for a specific work placement.

Traineeships are generally unpaid, although expenses such as travel and lunch will be covered by the employer. You will be able to claim Access to Work that can help pay towards communication support or equipment you need to help you do well in your job.

Like apprenticeships, there are schemes covering all sorts of careers including journalism, marketing, finance, leisure and tourism, business administration and more – you just need to sign up for a GOV.UK account and search for traineeships to find out what is available near you.

If you live in Wales, the rules for traineeships will vary a bit from England.

For more information on the Welsh traineeship scheme visit

For more information on how to gain qualifications and find a job in Scotland visit My World of Work.

Northern Ireland doesn’t have ‘traineeships’ as such, but a range of training programmes that can help you gain skills and act as a 'bridge' to help you into employment. Find out more information on

Should I do an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships and supported internships can be an opportunity to gain structured work experience alongside studying for qualifications. Your time is usually split between the workplace to learn key skills ‘on the job’, and going to college to study for the qualification. Apprenticeships involve being employed by an organisation or company and you will be entitled to at least the Apprentice National Minimum Wage. This is lower than for other jobs but some employers might pay more.

You will also have the opportunity to gain more general skills, such as maths, literacy and ICT, which can be useful for getting a job. Gaining experience in the workplace also helps develop ‘softer’ skills like teamwork and problem-solving, or customer service.

Supported internships are structured study programmes based mainly at the workplace. They’re especially for young people with learning difficulties or disabilities to enable them to learn the skills they need for employment. The Preparing for Adulthood website has lots of information and advice on supported internships.

We have further information about apprenticeships and supported internships where you can find out more.

Where can I find other information to help me find a job?

There is lots of information and guidance about applying for jobs, writing CVs and preparing for interviews available online.

  • National Careers Service have help to get a job including how to find job vacancies, CV tips, how to write cover letters and fill in application forms and interview questions and advice.
  • Career Hacker have tips and tricks including how to stand out in a job application and how to get work experience when you don’t have any work experience.
  • The Mix have expert advice about finding a job and true stories with other young people sharing their experiences.