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21 03, 2018

Are you a CSW or MRSLI with Employment Advisor knowledge and skills?

By |March 21st, 2018|Categories: Access to Work, Careers, CEC Stories, Deaf Employment|0 Comments

Clarion UK has developed an exciting and innovative employment model to support deaf and hard of hearing job seekers into sustained employment under the Government’s new ‘Work Programme’. The model allows us to meet the real needs of Deaf and hard of hearing job seekers on a national level by making mainstream employment services, such as Ingeus, A4E and Maximus fully accessible to our client group.

Across England, Scotland and Wales we will be supplying freelance Communication Support Workers (CSW’s) and MRSLI’s with employment advisor skills and knowledge known as ‘Communication and Employment Consultants’ (CEC’s) to support the Prime Contractors’ Employment Advisors. The outcome will be a truly empathetic end to end service to deaf and hard of hearing job seekers, delivered in partnership between the Prime/sub-contractors and Clarion UK.

Our Communication and Employment Consultant (CEC) will be required to:

  • Communicate fluently in BSL to Level 3 standards.
  • Demonstrate a high level of deaf awareness and a comprehensive understanding of the barriers faced by deaf jobseekers gaining entry into the labour market and staying in work.

A typical day as a CEC would include:

  • Attending and providing full communication support to enable smooth interaction between the Prime or sub-contractor EA and the deaf customer at their initial and follow up appointments.
  • Liaison with the Prime or sub-contractor EA and deaf client at their appointments to establish Action Plans (AP) and ensure the client is fully aware of their obligations.
  • Assist clients to achieve their targets set by the Action plan.
  • Carry out one to one appointments with the client where desired and requested by Prime or sub-contractor EA. For example:
  • Assistance with realistic employment aims and job searching
  • CV writing
  • Job applications
  • Interview training, confidence building and motivational goals


The CEC will be engaged by Clarion UK on a free-lance basis at the usual CSW rates.

The Communication and Employment Consultants will not own the ‘ into work’ or ‘sustained employment’ targets these would be retained by the Prime or sub-contractor.

Interested in this new and exciting role? Then please email Clarion UK Work Focus National Operations Manager Bob Marsh detailing your current communication qualifications and why you feel you have the skills and knowledge to perform the CEC role.

For more information on this specialist provision click here.

20 03, 2018

Breaking News: 2018 will see a Rise in the ATW Cap!

By |March 20th, 2018|Categories: Access to Work, Uncategorized|0 Comments

We are overjoyed to learn that Sarah Newton has announced several changes to ATW (Access To Work) funding, the main being,

“As of April 2018, the cap will not rise to £43,100 in line with 1.5 times average earnings. Instead it will rise to £57,200, double average earnings, and will be uprated annually on that basis. This means that considerably fewer British Sign Language users now remain affected by the cap.”

You can read the full published statement below or read it on the Parliament site here.

Thank you and congratulations to everyone involved in making this happen, including Darren Townsend-Handscomb, Bob Birchall, Bob Marsh, Dan Sumners, David Buxton, Jim Edwards, Laura Arrowsmith, Paul Lennon, Lidia Best, Lindsey Jane Rousseau, Martin McLean,  Robert Geaney, Rowena Stobart and Sally Paull.

If you would like to find out details about the employment support that we offer, check out our website here or contact

19 04, 2017

Bob’s Jobs Now in Jobcentres Nationwide

By |April 19th, 2017|Categories: Access to Work, Careers, CEC Stories|0 Comments

Our Employment Service for Deaf and hard of hearing people is now available in every Jobcentre in the UK. What this means is that our UK wide network of Communication and Employment Consultants are available to support people to help them seek, find and keep real and meaningful work.  If you want to hear one of our success stories, you can read about Agnese who is profoundly Deaf and from Latvia here .  Our success in helping Deaf people who either have multiple barriers to getting into work or just need a quick “leg up” is testimony to the work that Bob and his team do.  They build confidence, help with CVS, practice interview skills and have an extensive network of employers who pioneer disabled and deaf friendly HR practices. Their significant knowledge of Deaf culture and British Sign Language aligned with The Equalities Act  help break down barriers with employers.

We have been busy, over the winter months, getting ourselves up ready to join the “Dynamic Purchasing System”, ran by the government for the Department of Work and Pensions. It is a completely electronic system that it does not operate in the same way as a traditional contract/framework –  it is an ‘open market’ product designed to provide access to a pool of suppliers which can be constantly refreshed.

There are 7 regions covered by the system and this means that every job centre up and down the country can access our employment services. We are very proud to be the only specialist Deaf employment provider to be available Nationwide and able to roll our delivery at the twitch of a whisker.

If you would like to know more, ask at your local job centre and please do get in touch with Bob Marsh, the Employment  Business Development Manager to find out about this or any of our other communication services.


SMS: 07850 203642

Voice via CSW: 07761 715009


16 02, 2017

Ridwan Celebrates a Year at Poundland

By |February 16th, 2017|Categories: Access to Work, CEC Stories, Deaf Employment|0 Comments

One of our SES clients who we helped into work has just celebrated his 1 year anniversary!  Ridwan has been working at Poundland in Dagenham, restocking shelves and assisting in the warehouse.  A local paper went to interview him and you can ready the full story here.

22 11, 2016

Our Suzanne ‘Going that Extra Mile’ with Shaw Trust in Manchester!

By |November 22nd, 2016|Categories: Access to Work, CEC Stories, Deaf Employment|0 Comments

Here at Clarion UK, we are always proud of our Communication and Employment Consultants (CEC) for maintaining a high level of specialist employability service for our Deaf and hard of hearing customers. It was truly heartening when Shaw Trust, one of our key contract partners on the Government’s Work Choice, recently showed their appreciation of our specialist support with positive feedback on one of our key CECs, Suzanne Truelove, and presented her with a surprise card and beautiful flowers in appreciation of the support she has given their Deaf customers!

Manchester Shaw Trust Employment Advisor, June Fitzgerald who has been working with Suzanne for her Deaf customers commented: “Suzanne has gone out of her way to accommodate Shaw Trust and is always flexible when we have to meet deadlines, she is hard working, caring and a pleasure to work with. I can honestly say we couldn’t have been able to work with our Deaf customers without Suzanne’s support. She always goes that extra mile for the customers and Shaw Trust, resulting in job outcomes for FOUR of the five clients she is currently working with! We really value the contribution Suzanne makes to our team and look forward to a long term relationship together to support our clients”

thank you card
inside of thank you card

‘Thank you’ card for Suzanne from Shaw Trust Manchester

Our CEC of the moment, Suzanne commented: “I am so pleased that four of the five clients I was supporting have secured employment within the last two months ranging from Support Worker to Pick and Pack for Amazon. Working with Shaw Trust in Manchester has been a great success, June has been very receptive in learning the best working practices for supporting her Deaf jobseekers, and we have had a great working relationship supporting each other in our areas of expertise. All of my clients are profoundly Deaf sign language users, some have additional needs and barriers into employment and would find it difficult to gain meaningful work, however, we have worked together and those that secured work are over the moon!

Suzanne further commented: “It is outcomes like these, and seeing all the hard work that we do in partnership really pays off and that makes me absolutely love my job working as a CEC for Clarion UK

Bob Marsh, Clarion’s UK Business Development Manager who is Deaf himself and pioneered the award-winning CEC provision back in 2009 said “Suzanne is an absolute star and always gives her very best to her Deaf customers. It is immensely pleasing to get feedback like this in reflection of the consistent excellent level of specialist services we are able to offer both the Prime Contractor and their Deaf and hard of hearing customers. We are looking to further extend our provision in forthcoming new Government programmes for 2017 and hope to encourage more feedbacks such as this

If you would like to know more about Clarion UK’s specialist employability support for Deaf and hard of hearing customers please visit our website or alternatively give Bob a call on 01763 209001 or email

18 08, 2016

Window of Opportunity for Ridwan at Poundland!

By |August 18th, 2016|Categories: Access to Work|2 Comments

Ridwan was referred to Clarion UK on the Specialist Employability Support (SES) programme last October, via our contract with Doncaster Deaf Trust, and he has never looked back since!

During his initial weeks of employability support with our specialist Communication and Employment Consultant, Bridget, she supported Ridwan in updating and fine-tuning his CV and having gained a background of his skills and aspirations they then started the all-important job searching activities.  Each standard support session would entail checking vacancies on various websites, e-mail correspondences, make phone calls to employers to follow-up applications, check local newspaper adverts and make new job applications. Ridwan was very proactive and willingly determined to find a job; which really made things a lot easier for Bridget!

Bridget explained “constant interaction between us increasingly aided our professional relationship and I encouraged updates on jobs and interests in the interim periods in between our appointments. I would help Ridwan to complete application forms and we would both check before submitting to the employers and this boosted his chances of success!”

Ridwan’s motivation and dedication to the programme plus his enthusiasm and attitude to gaining employment led to the swift success of an interview at Poundland in Southend-on-Sea in Essex where he was subsequently successful in being offered a position with this national retail chain!

Ridwan commenced his 2 week induction training in February at the Southend store, where he was supported by Clarion UK throughout, whilst waiting for the new Dagenham store to open. The team there were extremely welcoming and with already having a Deaf member of staff employed at this store, they all readily understood Ridwan’s communication barriers and worked enthusiastically together as a team. Ridwan fitted in to his new environment almost immediately, becoming a ‘cheeky chappie’ and highly valued addition to the team!

Lisa Yates, Manager of the Southend-on-Sea branch where Ridwan commenced his training says “Ridwan is a great worker with a brilliant outgoing personality which is one of the key success ingredients to working with Poundland. He is always willing to learn and interacts so well with people, both his colleagues and our customers, even though he is Deaf. He is just so lovely” Ridwan has also encouraged Lisa to express an interest in learning BSL so that she can get back at him with cheeky innuendos in sign language!










Ridwan has since transferred to the new store in his home town in Dagenham and has settled in really well.  Bridget exclaimed: “I’m so pleased Ridwan has secured employment, I wish him the very best of luck and am assured he totally enjoys working in his new role in stock replenishment.  As a CEC, there is a real sense of pride and accomplishment when a job is secured for a client….well done Ridwan, no one deserves it more than you!”

Ridwan’s Dad, Gaphar commented on behalf of the family “after Ridwan completed College and training opportunities we were aware of the challenges he faced on the employment market due to the competitiveness and his hearing difficulties. We met with Bob from Clarion, who is Deaf himself, and he explained about the new SES programme and then we requested that the Jobcentre referred Ridwan.  Our immeasurable thanks go to Bob and his team, we are sure that more Deaf people will gain valuable benefits from their services, as Ridwan certainly did”

The ‘Man of the Moment’ Ridwan had this to say “I am very happy with my new job, even though I have already been here for over 6 months now, time has flown! I have so much more confidence and have made many new friends. The teams here at Poundland have all been very supportive. I also want to thank Clarion UK and Bridget for giving me a new fresh start in life. Without them I wouldn’t be here”

3 08, 2016


By |August 3rd, 2016|Categories: Access to Work|0 Comments

Alex was referred to Ingeus on the Government’s Work Programme by his local Jobcentre in Bradford. Ingeus’ employment advisor, Nadia Saghir was assigned to provide his support but quickly recognised that due to Alex’s Deafness he would require additional specialist support and then enlisted Clarion UK’s employability support for Deaf people.



Suzanne Truelove, a key member of Clarion UK’s national team of Communication and Employment Consultants (CEC) was then assigned to provide the support for Alex, Nadia and any potential employers that they may encounter during the support sessions.  Alex is a very likeable, shy young man who works as a volunteer with The Heart Foundation and studied Horticulture at College and was interested in working within a garden centre environment.  However, due to his shyness, lack of confidence and job searching skills, this was proving difficult for him, but then along came our CEC, Suzanne!

Suzanne commented “When I first met Alex he arrived at his appointment with his mum, as he had done for all his previous meetings with his advisor at Ingeus.  Alex has a severe hearing loss and relies heavily on lip-reading, body language and gestures in order to communicate.  Communicating can be extremely difficult for Alex, which is not only due to his deafness but also his confidence. Therefore, his mum would often accompany Alex to his appointments in order to relay information and answer questions that Alex had difficulty understanding”

Suzanne explained “during the first few meetings I had in-depth conversations with both Alex and his mum, building on their confidence and trust and after only a few sessions Alex was confident enough to attend his appointments independently. I then set about supporting Alex working and increasing on his confidence, interview techniques, job searching and job applications”  Within a short space of time they were successful in gaining an interview at Alex’s local B&Q store.

However, during the interview, Alex struggled to process the interview questions in order to give constructive answers and, although unsuccessful on that occasion, it was nonetheless a building block to work upon for future interviews.

Alex and Suzanne continued tirelessly working on improving his interview skills and went through many mock interviews together but he found it difficult to cognitively put his work ethics, commitment and team working abilities into words, which in turn would make it a challenging aspect for him to be successful at interview. Suzanne further explained “due to this, we had to think of another way in which he could gain employment”

Alex also does voluntary work with The Heart Foundation and they commented that he is a “fantastic worker with excellent work ethics and a good team player”. Suzanne and Alex discussed his role there and how those skills could be transferrable to possible different job roles elsewhere. After careful consideration, Alex declared that he would ideally like to work at Tong Garden Centre; which is a large garden centre a short distance from his home.

Alex then emailed Tong Garden Centre explaining his situation and his difficulties coping with interviews and offered himself on an unpaid work trial as a compromise so they could assess him at work rather than at an interview.  To his delight, the Manager at the garden centre agreed and after just TWO DAYS work trial he impressed them so much they then offered Alex a permanent 16 hours per week job!


Tong Garden Centre where Alex now works

Tong Garden Centre where Alex now works

Nadia was also on hand to support Alex with all his requirements, which included Ingeus paying for a helmet, in order for Alex to cycle to work, and clothing.

Suzanne says “having an excellent relationship with Nadia and Ingeus has enabled us to join up our resources and specialised support which has led to a very successful outcome for Alex”

Nadia commented “Alex has been wonderful to work with, he is polite, punctual and determined and has really tried hard and deserves this opportunity. With a great amount of help from Suzanne from Clarion UK, he had been to a few interviews, built his confidence and now successfully employed by Tong Garden Centre. Working with Suzanne has made it so much easier for him to understand many things. There has been nothing but excellent feedback on Alex’s progress. It has been a great experience for me too”

And lastly, but most importantly, Alex commented “Suzanne was brilliant, I would never have got this job without her help, she is awesome! I love having a job and not having to sign on anymore, I feel very proud of myself. Clarion UK and Ingeus’ services were invaluable to me”


11 09, 2015

Hands Across the Screen – Introducing Cherry to Clarion’s VRI for a Working Life Far Better!

By |September 11th, 2015|Categories: Access to Work, British Sign Language, Sign Language, Video Remote Interpreting|0 Comments

Clarion’s Video Remote Interpreting service (VRI) has improved work life for one of our Access to Work customers, Cherry.

Cherry has been using Clarion for interpreting support for the past year in her role as Administrative Apprentice with Hart District Council. In addition, she has recently started to use Clarion’s Video Remote Interpreting service to ensure she has access to an interpreter around the clock and has been blown away at how easy it is to use!

VRI is a fantastic, cost effective way to break down communication barriers in day-to-day work situations. (See our other blog about using VRI in work) As an on-demand service, it allows access to a remote interpreter at the click of a button when a face-to-face interpreter is not readily available. It is not a replacement service for a face-to-face interpreter but an access facility for when meetings or appointments are arranged at short notice and improves the immediate accessibility of our Deaf customers; ultimately improving job prospects!

With Cherry, this has proved exactly that!

Earlier this year, Cherry, along with her line manager Kat Fulcher and Jean Hounsham, Business Development Manager for Leisure & Environmental Promotion at Hart District Council, looked for practical solutions to further assist Cherry in addition to face-to-face interpreting and we were on hand to introduce them to Clarion’s Video Remote Interpreting Service. What a real difference we made in enhancing Cherry’s accessibility at work.

Kat commented:

“Clarion’s VRI service has been an effective way of the Council improving communication between our Deaf and hearing colleagues whilst at work. The service is instantaneous, at a click of a button we have access to discuss issues pertaining to the day rather than wait until an interpreter is on site.”

Cherry now uses a mixture of face-to-face interpreters and VRI support on a regular basis to help her go about the day-to-day tasks of her role much more effectively. Cherry commented on the service saying:

“I am really happy to use Clarion’s VRI service; it has helped me to engage effectively with my Manager and colleagues at work at the click of a button! Without this fantastic service it would be hard for me to go about some parts of my work and I cannot imagine how I’d manage without it”

Furthermore, we were delighted to hear that Cherry was recently offered a new role with Hart District Council and we wish her every success in her future.

Clarion are delighted to support Cherry and many other customers through the VRI service. For more information about how you could benefit from VRI and about our 1 month’s free trial, contact Beth for more information.

Video Remote Interpreting

9 09, 2015

One Small Step for Snowboarding, One Giant Leap for Mike!

By |September 9th, 2015|Categories: Access to Work, British Sign Language, Disability Achievement, Disability Sport|0 Comments

Mike attended the BASI (British Association of Snowsport Instructors) Level 1 course and passed! Congratulations to Mike!

Mike, a Deaf fitness fanatic, personal trainer, squash champion and general all round fitness guru, attended the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead for a week-long BASI (British Association for Snowboarding Instructors) Level 1 course. Clarion were delighted to once again work with Mike; what fun we all had!

Steve, Tanya and Lee, our communication professionals, all donned layer upon layer of clothing (looking like Michelin Men!) and took to the slopes to ensure that Mike was able to follow the entire course content.

Mike learnt all the special manoeuvres associated with Snowboarding, in particular ‘Landing a perfect Ollie into a toe edge diagonal slide slip!’

Left: Tanya dressed as ‘Michelin Woman’ signing away. Right: Lyndon and Mike celebrating his success.

Mike commented on the support he received saying:

“The Clarion interpreters helped me to understand what the tutor said and to know what to do during the course… Tanya and Steve were brilliant with explaining things to me and giving me good notes too. I felt confident I knew everything that was going on, the same as for the others – who were all hearing. The whole group of 7 people passed and I have been told by BASI that I am the first British-trained Deaf Level 1 Snowboard instructor!”

His thoughts were reiterated by his parents, Vanessa and Paul, stating:

“We have to say that Clarion’s support has been invaluable and Mike was obviously very comfortable and confident with his interpreters. Clarion has been really supportive in all the administrative side too, which has been a huge relief”

Finally, Lyndon Boddey, the course instructor, also commented:

“I have had a Deaf learner before, but they didn’t have communication support. Having the support this time has made the whole process so much easier for Mike to follow and enjoy.”

Clarion extends our warmest congratulations to Mike on his achievements in passing the course and we look forward to supporting him in his next sporting venture. Who knows, maybe next time level 2 in the French Alps!

Clarion would also like to take this opportunity to thank BASI and the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead for their hospitality and the loan of their warm clothes! It truly was an absolutely unforgettable experience!

24 08, 2015

Access to Work – How to Complain

By |August 24th, 2015|Categories: Access to Work, Advice, British Sign Language|0 Comments

Are you are having problems with Access to Work? These might be:

  • You are unhappy with your award/review decision
  • You have emailed but have not had a response
  • You have received your award from AtW but you feel the hours are not enough
  • You feel that you are not being ‘heard’ as a Deaf individual

You may find this article useful – here is the formal process to complain:


It is worth appealing; it is important that your voice is heard!

For more detailed information on all thing Access to Work, visit Darren Townsend’s website where you can find a wealth of information in BSL and written English.

If you have any questions at all about Access to Work, whether you are in work, an apprentice, self-employed or looking for work, please get in contact with Bob who is a Deaf BSL user and we will be more than happy to help via Skype call or email.