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      Chef lands new job with help from Specialist Employment Programme

      07 August 2019

      As a qualified Chef with many years’ experience, Ciaran Joyce was optimistic of securing employment when he moved to Northern Ireland. Ciaran is deaf and uses Irish Sign Language. After experiencing barriers to work he heard about the Specialist Employment Programme and self-referred with the aim of seeking support when applying for work.

      Ciaran registered onto the programme and with the support of his Employment Advisor he updated his CV and started to apply for local vacancies in his area. One week later he was shortlisted and invited for interview with a local hotel. He arranged to meet with his Employment Advisor to practice for his interview with an Irish Sign Language interpreter. Ciaran was successfully offered the job and is now working in a full time position as Chef in two kitchens in the popular family run hotel.

      The Hotel General Manager, Liam McElhinney says “Ciaran is a fantastic member of the team and we are delighted to have him working with us. He has great passion, flare and confidence in the kitchen. As a Deaf sign language user it has been great to have the support from Action on Hearing Loss, and has enabled us to become Deaf aware and avail of all support available, including Access to Work and the Workable programme.”

      Ciaran says “Getting support from the Specialist Employment Programme gave me the confidence to apply for and secure a job in my local area, whilst learning about other government support available.”

      In the meantime Ciaran asked for support and advice regarding his benefits. His Employment Advisor worked closely with the local Jobs & Benefits office staff to advise on booking Irish Sign Language interpreters and the importance of booking communication support. This is necessary for Deaf customers whose first language is sign language. The JBO provided the correct communication support to resolve issues linked to access to benefits and are now much more confident with the process for any other Deaf customers accessing the benefits system.

      Action on Hearing Loss Employment Advisor, Stephanie O’Kane, said: “For many of our clients whose first language is sign language there are many aspects of everyday life that are not accessible, and communication support is vital. Having programmes like ours is invaluable, enabling access and empowering Deaf people and people with hearing loss to have equality in the world of employment.”

      The Specialist Employment Programme is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014 - 2020 and the Department for Economy. Match funded by Department for Communities.

      If you are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus, and would like support looking for work, work placements, voluntary work or training, we can help you.

      Watch our short video in British Sign Language about the programme here

      Or email us at employmentteamni@hearingloss.org.uk, contact our Belfast Office at 028 9023 9619, 07903 238102 (text only) or contact our North West office: 07714 659061.
      Ciaran Joyce
      Ciaran Joyce