Activation of the Deaf – model’s main assumptions

Polish Association of the Deaf – Łódź division works on helping the Deaf to find an occupation and coming back to the labour market. The organization has a lot of experience in activating the Deaf gained while taking part in local (“4 Steps 3.0”, “Active Deaf over 40”) and nationwide projects (“4 Steps, support of the Deaf on the labour market II”). The result of the experience gained in the field is a comprehensive working model aimed at finding and maintaining the employment by the Deaf.

The model assumes the multi-stage operations for at least a few areas and a cooperation with various specialists and operators.
All the planned and suggested actions that a deaf person is supposed to follow are individually designed according to personal preferences, diagnosed predispositions and the situation on the local market.
Information on the actions taken by the organization are easily available in sign language on our web site.

It is very important that all the people working with a deaf customer have knowledge and experience in in the field of working in the deaf environment. Knowing the sign language at the level that allows a direct communication with a deaf person would be an ideal situation.
Watching for harmful stereotypes, being sensitive, treating the Deaf objectively and as partners on the basis of respect and cooperation are the core values defining the relationship between the employees of the PZG/OŁ and the customers that we want to activate.

Carefully selected team ensures high standards of support and makes sure that the rule of empowerment is implemented while working with the Deaf. To ensure that our team is well chosen we use a standardized recruitment procedures e.g. scenario interviews for job counsellors and professional trainers.

Our team consists of:

  • Broker that looks for job offers and lobbies for employment of the Deaf
  • Job counsellor who prepares the professional diagnosis, determines career path, creates the Individual Action Plan, explores potential and areas to strengthen. 
  • Professional trainer, who works directly with both a deaf person and employers, schools, training companies, labour office, job agencies etc. A trainer works with a deaf person through the whole employment process. That is why it very important that the person on the post has a high interpersonal skills and knows how to cooperate with the client by the rules set and accepted on both sides. 
  • Mentor – a deaf person that supports a deaf client (model role)
  • Sign language interpreter that has to present at any time when a communication between hearing and deaf person occurs.

The team cooperates so that the aims of the Individual Action Plan were reached. To minimize the risk of a burnout syndrome and stress once every few months, depending on the need the team holds a supervisory meeting where all the problems and possible solutions are discussed.

Depending on the situation of the client the organization cooperates with various specialists. Since being unemployed is usually an effect of a complexed situation and has more than just one reason it is important to notice the reasons and react as quickly as possible.

Those specialists are:

  • Psychologist
  • Solicitor
  • Social worker

With a help from those specialists that work on finding solutions to various personal, legal, family, interpersonal or living problems the deaf client can focus on active job search or on increasing his/hers qualifications.

At this level the job broker and the trainer works also with:

  • Employers
  • Working market institutions like job agencies, Labour Office etc.
  • Personal trainers, training companies
  • Schools for the Deaf

Both the trainer and the broker must have the knowledge of the local labour market, legal aspects of employment of deaf employees, safety issues and occupational medicine.
They also need to know how to encourage employers to employ deaf people and the professional trainer must take care that the working environment is friendly and comfortable for the deaf employee (solutions that make communication easier, safety issues, savoir vivre training for the co-workers of the deaf person etc.). Our model assumes cooperation not only with the employer but also with doctors, occupational medicine specialists and safety specialists since in practice they are the people who decide whether a deaf person may or may not work on a given post.

Our model also assumes raising qualifications and retraining deaf people since their qualifications are very often too low and do not reflect the abilities and interests of the client and do not correspond to the needs of the local employers.

We organize:

  • External trainings ( training companies)
    It is important that he trainings were prepared for a given client and that they take into account both predispositions of a deaf client and the expectations of the employer. The perfect solution are trainings that take place in the working environment. It is important to avoid mass trainings where most of the participants are hearing people – our experience show that the training of a deaf person is highly ineffective in such circumstances. 
  • Vocational trainings in vocational schools for the Deaf (when an employer reports a ‘demand’ on a given skill the trainer and the school prepare and implement a training plan for the student, with the use of school’s resources e.g. equipped studios or teachers).
  • Internships and apprenticeships (at least 3 months for each action)

We also organize group workshops “Life Skills”. They are very important to the whole process of strengthening the personal and professional potential of a deaf person.

When a deaf person gets employed we offer 3 month support for the client and for the employer (depending on reported needs e.g. consult with the trainer or with the mentor).

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