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      People with deafness and hearing loss celebrate job success

      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 the Economy and the Department for Communities.

      Action on Hearing Loss Northern Ireland has been helping people with deafness and hearing loss find jobs, overcome problems at work, and gain qualifications for 20 years.

      Yesterday (Thursday 22 March), the charity celebrated the success of their Specialist Employment Programme at an event aboard the SS Nomadic in the Titanic Quarter in Belfast.

       Celebrating Specialist Employment Programme

      Over the last 3 years a specially trained team of advisors have helped secure full-time work for 21 people, and part-time employment for a further 9 people. 55 people undertook accredited training.

      Since 2015 the charity has been contracted by the Department for the Economy to provide the European Social Fund (ESF) project, ‘Specialist Employment Programme’. The project aims to enhance the employability of people who are deaf, have a hearing loss and/or tinnitus through the provision of specialist support and access to training opportunities. The participants can access an appropriate programme matched to their needs including an eight-week employability programme, recognised accredited qualifications/training courses in a range of areas, such as customer service and health and safety qualifications, ongoing one-to-one mentoring, job search, work-experience placement training, and supported employment.

      Michael Mulvenna, Employment Team Leader at Action on Hearing Loss Northern Ireland, said: “We are delighted that we have been able to make a real difference to the lives of people with hearing loss and deafness, who traditionally find it more difficult to get a job compared with hearing people. We have worked with 89 people in the last three years, who are now fulfilling their dreams of pursuing a career or have increased their learning and skills, which will move them one step closer to getting a job.”

      Annie McGowan, Head of ESF Project Delivery Branch at the Department for the Economy, said: “The Specialist Employment Programme, run by Action on Hearing Loss, provides invaluable support to its participants in helping them prepare for and access employment. I would like to express my personal thanks and admiration to Michael Mulvenna and his team for the very important work they do. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with some of the participants yesterday and could not help but be impressed by their candour and positive attitudes. All in all, this is a great project which deserve the highest  recognition!”

      People with deafness and hearing loss commonly cite negative employer attitudes as a barrier to them getting a job. The Specialist Employment Programme works with employers to ensure that their recruitment processes are accessible and that workplaces are ready for a new member of staff who has a hearing loss.

      To find out more about the Specialist Employment Programme visit

      For helpful information for employers visit

      To contact the Specialist Employment service email: or SMS: 07903 238102

      EU European Social Fund logo Department for the economy logo Department for Communities logo
      Specialist Employment Programme Representatives