Lilia moved to the UK from Portugal 15 years ago to live with her Deaf sister in Lambeth and help look after her niece and nephew. While she was in Portugal, Lilia had worked for a food retailer replenishing stock on the shop floor and store room. Later she worked at a restaurant preparing food, specialising in cakes and desserts.

When she moved to the UK Lilia made new friends and learned British Sign Language but struggled to find work in London. Lilia was trying to apply for catering and retail jobs with no success. She managed to get on to a catering course and did very well with BSL support, Lilia passed, but was still unable to get a job.

Her Job Centre Plus Work Coach referred her to Clarion UK and she was paired with Wesley Nolan, a highly experienced Deaf Employment Advisor, who was able to review and update her CV, coach and train her about Customer Service, discuss job opportunities and speak to “Deaf Friendly” employers on her behalf.

Although Lilia’s basic catering skills were good, the long employment gap was proving to be a hindrance in her search.

Wesley knew a local social enterprise that ran community café projects around Lambeth that had recently opened Brixton People’s Kitchen and suggested that Lilia could do a work trial to demonstrate her skills with a view to being offered a part-time role in the kitchen. The project manager met Lilia and Wesley with a BSL interpreter and she was impressed by Lilia’s positive attitude and willingness to learn.

Wesley met the café staff and went through basic Deaf Awareness and BSL with Lilia’s colleagues and gave Lilia support in applying for Access to Work (AtW) funding to cover communication support during the Work Trial. Lilia made a fantastic impression and was offered a part-time catering apprenticeship role on a fixed term contract and again Wesley ensured that AtW and communication support was in place for her induction training and for her shifts. Wesley provides in-work support for Lilia and her colleagues who are enjoying learning some sign language alongside her.

Lilia is very happy to be working again as well as  refreshing her skills and experience along the way. Lilia now has the confidence and something positive to add to her CV and is hopeful her contract will be renewed or she will have a much better chance of finding alternative employment in future.

If you need help getting into employment or are looking to make your organisation more Deaf Aware, get in touch with the team today and see how we can help. 

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