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.
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 for Suzanne from Shaw Trust Manchester
Clarion and Ingeus do it again! Victoria Minney, one of our London-based CECs, alongside Ingeus employment advisor Kamesh Vishram worked with Kevin, a profoundly Deaf graphic designer, under the government’s Work Programme to get him into work.
After achieving his dream of a career in the TV industry with Moov, through Channel 4’s Rio Production Training Scheme, Ingeus created another good (great) news stories with the fantastically clever title ‘Ingeus gets Kevin on the Moov’. Click the link to catch the full story.
Wishing the very best of luck to Kevin, especially in his interview for a place on the production team for the Rio Games! Don’t forget us when you’re famous!
Four years on and Jennifer, our first client supported into work, is still thriving at Sainsbury’s!
When Clarion first started its Welfare to Work specialist employability support for Deaf and hard of hearing customers during the summer of 2011, Jennifer Banton of Stevenage was referred to us through our partnership with Ingeus on the Work Programme.
Jennifer was supported with job searching activities with one of our Communication and Employment Consultants (CEC) Anna Calstar-Fisher, and within just a few weeks became our very first customer into work with her local Sainsbury’s store! Jennifer’s story was widely publicised in local media, Ingeus and even DWP ran the story on their website!
That was all of four years ago and we recently caught up with Jennifer again and were delighted to hear that she is still thriving at the Sainsbury’s store at Coreys Mill, Stevenage. Anna has provided Jennifer with ongoing communication support, via the Government’s Access to Work scheme, to ensure everything runs smoothly and has now become a well-known part of the furniture herself around the store!
We asked Jennifer how having a job has changed her life:
“It feels strange to think back to when I was out of work for 12 years. I have now been working for 4 years and have gained confidence and made some good friends, both hearing and deaf. I am now more confident to explain to new colleagues how to communicate with me and in some cases teach some basic sign language, some of them have gone on to learn level 1 BSL themselves. Our former Store Trainer had also learnt some sign language when she was selected as one of the London Olympic Helpers!”
Jennifer’s Groceries Online Manager, Julian Martin has been very supportive of Jennifer’s needs and requirements and commented: “Retail is such a fast paced industry, we change process & procedures frequently to ensure we’re doing the right thing for our customers and colleagues. Without Anna’s continued support, especially helping Jen to be involved in Team Huddles and development, it would be very difficult to ensure that Jen fully understands what we are asking of her. Jen seems to be really enjoying her role within Sainsbury’s & continues to impress me”
Anna, who has since successfully supported many other Deaf customers into work in a similar way to Jennifer explains: “I think one of the most important aspects of being a CEC is the long term In Work Support that can be provided to the Deaf employee and their employers. Staff and Managers come and go or transfer to different stores and that can become rather disorientating to a Deaf employee getting to know new colleagues. CECs provide support on a regular basis and negate the stress that can build up if the Deaf employee struggles with communication. It is also reassuring for the employer and employee to know that they have an Interpreter that they can call upon when there is development training or new procedures to be explained”
Acknowledging Anna’s comments, Jennifer went on to say: “I feel secure knowing it will be the same CEC (Anna) supporting me every month and whenever I need her. I have built up a strong relationship with Anna and I would worry if I had different Interpreters as they may not understand me as well as Anna does. If I do not understand something or have a problem linked to work I can always text Anna and she will advise the best course of action”.
Bob Marsh UK Business Development Manager at Clarion who pioneered the CEC model says “I have nothing but praise for Sainsbury’s for the way that they have welcomed Jennifer into their team and every piece of advice and support that was provided was enthusiastically received”
If you would like to know more about Clarion’s unique and holistic employability support for Deaf and hard of hearing customers please contact Bob Marsh on 01763 209001 or via email.
Born in Latvia and profoundly Deaf, Agnese moved to the UK almost four years ago searching for work and a better life in England.
When Agnese was referred to the Work Programme with Ingeus, her brother provided communication support for her which was very difficult as her brother has very basic signing skills and English is also his second language. This, unfortunately, had a negative impact on her confidence and independence until Ingeus’ advisor, Looqman Patel, recognised this and asked Clarion to appoint one of our Communication and Employment Consultants, Suzanne Truelove to support Agnese.
Suzanne tells us the story…
Starting with ‘Barriers’
Communication was challenging for both Agnese and myself, but with perseverance, Google Translate and sign apps, we developed a great relationship and communicated effectively. During this time, Agnese’s English language and British Sign Language had greatly improved!
Once we overcame the communication obstacles, we were then able to discuss Agnese’ education, and work experience and put short/mid/long term goals in place.
Agnese’s passion is art and photography and her long term goal is to work within this field. Looqman recognised this and located a photography course for her to attend and communication support was provided throughout. Agnese thoroughly enjoyed the course and commented that it reaffirmed her goal of pursuing a career within this area.
Agnese created a portfolio of her art and photography work and, after discussions regarding self-employment, she set up her own business in her chosen career but is well aware that it can take time to build up from scratch. Agnese then sought part-time work that would bring in a subsidised income whilst still pursuing her business in photography and art work.
Finding Part-Time Work
Agnese had no previous work experience, however, having done housekeeping for many years in the family home she decided she would like to do this alongside her self-employment, within a hotel environment.
I supported Agnese in creating a CV, cover letters and applying for vacancies. We also sent out letters to local hotels within a ten-mile radius of her home and she offered herself for unpaid work trials. We were delighted when the Holiday Inn at Brighouse took up her offer and were subsequently overjoyed when they then gave her a job as a room attendant for 18 to 24 hours per week! The manager at the Holiday Inn was delighted to have Agnese working there and also agreed to work around Agnese’s English course each Monday.
Success for Agnese!
I have been supporting Agnese for seven months now and, along with Looqman’s and Ingeus’ support, she has within that time: improved her BSL and English language to a point where she can communicate effectively, completed a photography course, enrolled on an English course, set up her own business, and gained a position as a room attendant in a large hotel chain. Her confidence and independence has grown immensely! A marvellous achievement in such a short space of time, well done to Agnese!
Looqman of Ingeus commented:
“Agnese was referred to us at Ingeus and the biggest barriers she faced in securing employment were the lack of work experience and very limited language in both BSL and English. I got in contact with Clarion, who support clients with communication and employment support and we introduced Agnese to Clarion’s Suzanne Truelove. Suzanne supported Agnese on a weekly basis and worked intensively with her applying for work and contacting employers.
Suzanne provided great support including securing an interview and subsequently a job offer with a local Holiday Inn as a Housekeeper! As a direct result, along with Agnese’s determination, she is now looking at securing a home for herself and becoming independent for the first time ever!”
We at Clarion are very proud of Agnese’ achievements and wish her all the very best for the future in her exciting new venture!
One of our Deaf clients has bagged herself a job after being out of work for 27 years.
After being out of work since the age of 18 (now 45) with three weeks voluntary work experience in between, Deborah has found herself a job as a school cleaner with the help of one of Clarion’s Communication and Employment Consultants (CEC).
Deborah had two barriers when it came to finding work; alongside her hearing loss, a brain tumour at the age of two left her with learning difficulties and subsequent low literacy skills. Despite being keen to get a job, she had convinced herself that she was unemployable. When Louise, our CEC, met her for the first time, she was in tears due to the frustration and upset of not being able to find a job; looking for jobs was beyond her ability.
Those tears soon turned to tears of relief after Louise explained to her and the advisor how Clarion could help!
Her confidence grew week by week, using the computer to conduct job searches together, creating her CV and cover letters to match job applications, applying for every job they found and gaining a few interviews. Practising interview techniques helped increase her confidence even more and she was offered an interview at a school.
After a successful interview for a school cleaner, she was offered a day’s trial; having a few wobbles of self-doubt, after a little encouragement she plucked up the courage to go – thrilled with herself, she got the job! Many congratulations!
Since being offered the job, Deborah has applied, with the help of Louise, for Access to Work to help her in various parts of her job.
“Ingeus have been marvellous and the advisor was so supportive…. At our last appointment, Deborah gave me a bunch of flowers and a card thanking me”
We wish Deborah every success in the future with her new job and look forward to now supporting her in her new role through Access to Work.
Deborah was convinced she couldn’t have done it with the support of Clarion’s CEC and Ingeus. Does this story sound familiar? Do you know of someone who could benefit from a CEC? Would you like to know how Clarion can support you?
If you want to find out more about how we can support you or your Deaf/hard of hearing customers into work on Government employment programmes, including the new Specialist Employability Support (SES) please get in touch with Bob Marsh – Clarion’s UK Business Development Manager, who is Deaf himself and leads on our National employability support for Deaf people.
Having summer off is so over-rated, (it’s not like you can lay out in the sun anyway!) it’s much more fun in the life of a CEC (Communication and Employment Consultant) especially on a youth residential course!
Penny Wilkinson, one of our much loved CECs tells us all about her ‘Summer of Fun’ when she supported two young Deaf students on a residential programme to encourage youth development and independence. Living in a tent and rock climbing was just the start…..read on!
The programme is designed to encourage young people to take up the opportunity to creatively use their entrepreneurial talents whilst also developing friendship and independence; I was privileged to be a part of this by supporting two Deaf students at separate locations over 4 weeks. And when I say it was a summer filled with fun, I wasn’t kidding!!
The First Week:
Our home for the next 5 days was at Consall Scout Camp just outside of Stoke on Trent. A group of 80 students with staff were dispatched, all with tents and equipment for the week and split into smaller groups/teams to focus on team building.
From 10km hiking to abseiling and rock climbing – every day there was a new challenge allowing the students to develop team skills….. and I would say that the ‘challenge’ was far greater for me than it was for the young individuals!
During the evening there were games and activities for them to do, one of which was a basic sign language class that they asked me to lead. Most of the 80 students were keen to be involved with this! They enthusiastically learnt the ABC and simple phases such as “good morning, afternoon, evening”, “please and thank you”, and “Get me a cuppa tea would you!” The young Deaf students were so thrilled to feel included in group discussions with my support – it was a joy to see.
One Deaf student’s parents commented that they could not believe the transformation in their young daughter’s confidence the first weekend she was home before returning for the second week!
During the second week we stayed in student accommodation at a local university (not exactly my idea of luxury) so they could experience a nugget of student life! Talks were given from various groups in the community, on topics ranging from self-defence to budgeting. They also had people from charity organisations coming to tell them about their charity.
Weeks 3 and 4:
The final two weeks saw them develop a project to support a local charity. Working in their teams to raise money and to perform some good deed; for example: one team painted the rooms where the charity holds their meetings.
This programme has an abundance of substantial benefits that young students can gain; especially for the Deaf students as it allowed them total inclusion with no barriers.
Both students developed from being initially shy and reluctant to get involved, to become major team players in the charity project. This by far was the most rewarding part of the programme for me, and of course for the two young Deaf individuals who had achieved so much in a short space of time to last a whole lifetime! Supporting them has been a great experience for me and one that I hope I can repeat.
Clarion were proud to have made all the above possible for the two young Deaf customers by pulling out all the stops to provide the support at very short notice; further enhancing our unique partnership with Ingeus.
Ross Foster, Ingeus’ Contract Manager for the youth programme commented to Clarion’s UK Business Development Manager, Bob Marsh:
“I would like to place on record my sincere thanks for your efforts with this request. When I initially made contact on Tuesday I did not think there was any realistic chance that we would be in this position now and it speaks volumes for Clarion and you personally that you have managed to achieve such a positive outcome for us.”
Penny is one of the CEC’s who works in the North West. She is extremely passionate about the work she does and tells us regularly ‘she loves being a CEC’. Recently as part of a good news story Penny wrote the following detail down which I thought would be nice to share with you.
“As a CEC (Communication Employment Consultant) my role is to provide effective communication to enable and assist Deaf jobseekers to gain employment and sustain it. To do this we assist with all aspects of job searching, including application forms, CV, job adverts and effective job searching, telephone calls, interviews and practise beforehand, confidence building and 1:1 with advisers. That really is just a short list of the things that we really do.
I have always considered that for someone to get and keep a job role there needs to be no outside complications interfering with their concentration. By that I mean any issues that they have at home whether it be benefits, money, parents etc. For me I look at what is happening in that person’s background first and assist and advise to help them to focus on job searching better.
The other thing I think is very important is to find a job that they actually like and want to do. At times it can be easier to apply for the first thing you see and push the client towards a role that is not really what they want to do. I always ask “what is your dream job?” and “what did you study at college and why?” To find a role that they enjoy and aspire to will help with the client’s enthusiasm and long term employment.
I absolutely love being a CEC. It is such a rewarding job. There is no better feeling than supporting someone to achieve their goals”.
For more information about becoming a Communication Employment Consultant, please contact Bob Marsh by email or on 01763 209001.
Clarion are ecstatic to announce that we have just supported our 100th Person into employment!
We are absolutely delighted to tell you that Amanda Atkin has got a job as a Cleaner at Leeds University!
Amanda, an experienced cleaner, found it really difficult to get work when she moved to Leeds. Amanda feels her deafness was a real barrier. For Amanda, being deaf meant that she was unable to independently job search, complete application forms and contact employers. When she did get through to employers she felt that her deafness ‘put them off’. Amanda was signed up to the Work Programme and referred to Ingeus. Ingeus are a Prime Contractor who work with Clarion using our Communication Employment Consultant (CEC) Model to support their deaf customers.
Amanda worked really closely with Rebecca, her Employment Advisor from Ingeus and Penny, her Communication Employment Consultant from Clarion to look for work. She attended regularly and even though it took some time Amanda stayed positive and worked hard to achieve her goal.
Tracie Redshaw, National Operations Manager, Clarion
“We are thrilled for Amanda, she has persistently worked hard to get a job, she has taken the knocks and got back up again.
I am delighted to be able to showcase our Communication Employment Consultant (CEC) model’s success. We also introduced our new employment training earlier this year. Amanda was one of the first delegates to attend this through Ingeus who piloted this training in their Leeds Office.
The inspiration for our CEC model and the training we provide is a desire to guarantee that Prime Contractors delivering on the Work Programme and Work Choice were able to offer a quality affordable service to meet the needs of their Deaf customers.
This fantastic news is also testament to our wonderful Partners who understand the importance of working with us to ensure that Deaf people have full and equal access to their services”.
“I am pleased with the help I had from Penny, my CEC and from Ingeus Advisor Rebecca. They helped me to get a job at the University. The course for employment skills was also good. It gave me confidence for interview and helped me to know how to respond to questions with confidence.
I am happy to get a job; it is always different each day and keeps me busy. I feel now I can move on with my life and start to make plans for the future.”
Penny Wilson , Clarion Communication Employment Consultant explains…
“Amanda joined the program just over a year ago. At first she was quiet and nervous. However, over time Amanda grew in confidence and began to blossom in the group, we began to see who Amanda really was and enjoy her witty sense of humour. Amanda joined the group for the Employability Skills Course, she was again a little nervous, but very quickly found her feet and had some real positive and informative contributions to the discussion and the course. During the course we covered interview skills and did a mock interview, this was an area that Amanda had struggled with previously, but with our guidance was able to overcome her fears to give a very strong interview. This served her well when she went for her interview at the University, armed with her new confidence and an understanding on how to answer the questions that faced her; she managed to successfully secure a permanent position. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Amanda and I feel that she will continue to grow in her chosen occupation and be a valued member of the University team.”
Rebecca Cockerton, Ingeus Employment Advisor told us “it has been so exciting to see Amanda’s confidence in herself grow as a result of the course. She worked hard to maintain the momentum that the course gave her, which resulted in this job. I am confident that she will be a valuable addition to the team at Leeds University.”
Marilyn Haywood (TI) – “As a Clarion representative I am privileged to meet advisors who show compassion and assistance to Deaf clients and their needs and problems. Some of these have arisen as a result of job searching and I have seen every help and assistance given by Ingeus advisors to rectify these problems.
I am also humbled and more determined than ever when I see the eagerness of deaf people to obtain work whilst facing on-going barriers to employment.”