European Social Fund (ESF) case study - Action on Hearing Loss

The Specialist Employment Programme, run by Action on Hearing Loss, supports people to access education, training and employment opportunities. It is funded by the European Social Fund, the Department for Communities and Department for the Economy. Hazel Craigan and Paul Stewart explain how the programme has beneffitted them.

Hazel Craigan's story

After looking after her family for 14 years, Hazel explains how her placement on the Specialist Employment Programme, run by Action on Hearing Loss, gave her the help and confidence to secure full time employment.

Hazel Craigan explains how the decision to enrol in the Programme has helped her to successfully secure a full time job.

Specialist Employment Programme

“Last year, I began the Specialist Employment Programme with Action on Hearing Loss. I am not only deaf but have depression and this was a big step for me. I was very nervous and wondered if I had done the right thing.

Through the programme, I started a placement with the Health and Social Care Board. When I met my mentor, Una Doyle, for the first time, she made me feel at ease and was so pleasant. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to work after looking after my family for 14 years.

On my first day, I had mixed feelings – I was a little excited, very nervous and actually wanted the day to be over. I had an interpreter there for my first day to support me to make sure that I knew everything that was going on. When I walked into my office, I was met by Una with a great big smile – she showed me to my desk and made sure I was comfortable. She explained how things worked and even showed me how to use the printer. This made me feel comfortable; not only was Una friendly, but the rest of the ladies I worked with were friendly and nothing was too much trouble. My day flew quickly and I couldn’t believe that I had done it. 

I worked 3 mornings a week from 8.45am until 2.00pm. I started to settle in and Una was giving me jobs to do; I researched prices, helped sort documents and many other jobs. I was even given training on Excel and I loved doing this.”

Full time job

After the 6 month programme, Hazel was given a temporary job at the Health and Social Care Board in the Corporate Services department. After completing an assessment and interview, she has recently secured a full time job at another organisation as an HR Administrator which she is due to start in April 2018.

Hazel said: “I am so pleased to have secured a new job – this was the first interview I’ve had in 14 years! I’d like to thank my Employment Adviser Barry Campbell for pushing me a little harder than I thought I needed, for growing my confidence and helping me to secure this new opportunity.”

Hazel Craigan's story (German translation)

Hazel Craigans Geschichte

Hazel erklärt, wie ihr das Specialist Employment Programme (spezielle Beschäftigungsprogramm), das von Action on Hearing Loss betrieben wird, die Unterstützung und das Selbstvertrauen gegeben hat, um zu sich eine Vollzeit-Stelle zu sichern, nachdem sie sich 14 Jahre ausschließlich um ihre Familie gekümmert hatte.

Hazel Craigan erklärt, wie ihr die Entscheidung, an diesem Programm teilzunehmen, dabei geholfen hat, sich erfolgreich um eine Vollzeit-Stelle zu bewerben.

„Im vergangenen Jahr begann ich das Specialist Employment Programme (spezielle Beschäftigungsprogramm) bei Action on Hearing Loss. Ich bin nicht nur taub, sondern leide auch an Depressionen, und daher war dies ein großer Schritt für mich. Ich war sehr nervös und fragte mich, ob ich mich die richtige Entscheidung getroffen hatte.

Im Rahmen des Programms begann ich ein Praktikum beim Health and Social Care Board (Behörde für Sozial- und Gesundheitsfürsorge). Bereits beim ersten Treffen sorgte meine Mentorin Una Doyle dafür, dass ich mich von Anfang an wohl fühlte und war sehr nett zu mir. Ich hätte mir keinen besseren Arbeitsplatz wünschen können, nachdem ich mich 14 Jahre lang ausschließlich um meine Familie gekümmert hatte.

Mein erster Arbeitstag begann mit gemischten Gefühlen – ich war etwas aufgeregt, sehr nervös und wünschte mir eigentlich nur, dass der Tag vorbei gehen würde. Am ersten Tag hatte ich einen Dolmetscher zur Unterstützung, damit ich tatsächlich alles verstehen konnte, was vor sich ging. Als ich in mein Büro kam, wurde ich dort von Una mit einem breiten Lächeln begrüßt – sie zeigte mir meinen Schreibtisch und sorgte dafür, dass ich mich dort wohl fühlte. Sie erklärte mir alles und zeigte mir sogar, wie man den Drucker benutzte. Dadurch habe ich mich sehr wohl gefühlt – nicht nur Una sondern auch die anderen Frauen, mit denen ich zusammenarbeitete, waren sehr nett zu mir und scheuten keine Mühen, um mir zu helfen. Mein Tag verging wie im Fluge und ich konnte gar nicht glauben, dass ich das geschafft hatte.

Ich arbeitete drei Vormittage pro Woche von 8.45 Uhr bis 14.00 Uhr. Ich begann, mich an die Abläufe zu gewöhnen und Una wies mir Aufgaben zu; ich recherchierte Preise, half beim Sortieren von Dokumenten und bei zahlreichen anderen Arbeiten. Ich erhielt eine Excel-Schulung und habe sehr gern damit gearbeitet.“

Nach dem 6-monatigen-Ausbildungsprogramm erhielt Hazel eine befristete Anstellung beim Health and Social Care Board (Behörde für Sozial- und Gesundheitsfürsorge) in der Abteilung Corporate Services. Nach Absolvieren einer Evaluierung und eines Vorstellungsgesprächs hat sie vor kurzem eine Vollzeit-Stelle als Personalsachbearbeiterin bei einer anderen Organisation erhalten, die sie im April 2018 antreten wird.

Hazel sagte dazu: „Ich bin so froh, diese neue Stelle bekommen zu haben – es war das erste Vorstellungsgespräch, das ich in 14 Jahren absolviert habe! Ich möchte meinem Betreuer Barry Campbell dafür danken, dass er mich etwas mehr gefordert hat, als ich das ursprünglich für notwendig hielt, und dafür, dass er mein Selbstvertrauen gestärkt und mir dabei geholfen hat, diese neue Chance ergreifen zu können.“

Paul Stewart's story

Paul has a vision to become the first Deaf Councillor after participation in Action on Hearing Loss’s Employability Training Course enabled him to secure a permanent job in Belfast City Council’s Equality and Diversity Unit.

Specialist Employment Programme

The Specialist Employment Programme supports people on their individual journeys to access education, training and employment opportunities and is funded by the European Social Fund, the Department for Communities and Department for the Economy.

Paul Stewart is profoundly deaf and uses British Sign Language. After he left school at 19, he held various short term contracted jobs. Paul was unemployed for two years before taking part in Action on Hearing Loss’ Employability training course.

Employment training course

The Employment Team at Action on Hearing Loss began supporting Paul in November 2015, focusing on confidence building, CV building, applying for various administration posts and interview preparation. Paul took part in the Employability training course during which he achieved NVQ Level 2 Customer Service. His dedicated Employment Adviser encouraged him to apply for a place on the Belfast City Council pre-employment training programme, for which he was successful.

Permanent job

Throughout the training Action on Hearing Loss continued to support Paul and the Council by providing important specialist information about the Access to Work scheme, communication support and deaf awareness. Following the training programme, Paul obtained a permanent job in September 2016 at the Council as a Business Support Clerk in the Equality and Diversity Unit.

Paul said: “I think the Action on Hearing Loss Employability service is really useful as without it I’d only have support from hearing people as part of Job Seeker’s Allowance…I would have been lost and wouldn’t have found a job. I’m grateful that this service exists because I was able to get accessible support in my own language which meant I was more able to get a job. I’m really grateful to Action on Hearing Loss for where I am now.

 “My manager has told me she’s learnt a lot from me and my efforts to raise deaf awareness. We set up Deaf Awareness training and I delivered 6 weeks of half hour sessions for a group of staff to learn BSL, which was great. Recently I’ve been involved in planning events for Sign Language Week (12-18 March 2018) to raise awareness of sign language in the community. We held an event with the British Deaf Association where a Deaf group met the Deputy Lord Mayor followed by a guided tour of City Hall. I also organised a separate event where a group enjoyed a self-guided tour of the City Hall exhibition. My vision is to become the first Deaf Councillor - it’s fantastic to have the opportunity to campaign within the Council to raise awareness.

“I applaud the Employment team for their dedication, hard work and support over the past few years. If anyone who is Deaf or hard of hearing is seeking employment, I highly recommend they engage with this service.”

Barry Campbell, Employment Adviser at Action on Hearing Loss, said: “We are absolutely delighted for Paul. This is something he has always wanted to do; he has the skills, knowledge, ability and competence and now the opportunity to demonstrate it. He never let his deafness get in the way of his working life and is determined to prove that he is capable of doing an excellent job.”

 

 

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