Billy Garton is a 30 year old married man with 2 children and was employed at Hilton Liverpool as part of the pre-opening team in October 2009.
I was approached by Job Centre Plus who asked if I would consider Billy for a position in the Hotel as they were having difficulty placing him. He had been unemployed for a year and had been made redundant from his previous position as a cabinet maker. Billy had been in this position from leaving College in 2003 but was prepared to re train and look at any position just to get back into work to support his family.
This was made even more difficult for Billy as he is profoundly deaf as is his wife and one of his children and his first language is sign language.
My first contact with Billy was at a pre-employment workshop organised by JCP for those who had been out of work for over 6 months. This was to help prepare them to get back to work and were organised specifically for our Hotel. I was impressed how well Billy was interacting and taking part in the sessions with the help of an interpreter. He then attended an assessment centre and a 1:1 interview.
Billy was interested in a role in Maintenance but unfortunately a suitable position was not available. The only position available was in the Restaurant and following discussions regarding the training and coaching available Billy decided to accept the position. At this time I also discussed the future with Billy and how we could develop him for a more suitable position in Maintenance.
I applied for a grant from Access to Work at DWP which we now receive to provide Billy with an interpreter once a week who comes into the Hotel. The interpreter helps Billy when he attends Team Meetings and any Training sessions. At the orientation the interpreter gave the whole group of 30 Team Members a lesson how to introduce themselves to Billy in his language.
I also sourced a basic sign language course for the Team Members who worked with Billy to enable them to communicate with him at work.
Billy worked hard to overcome the difficulties with communication and learning a new role. After a year in the Restaurant Billy asked if a role in Maintenance became available could he be considered for it. I told him the role of Painter and Decorator would be available sometime in the future but he would have to receive the appropriate training.
I enquired at the local Colleges to find the right course for Billy to attend that would give him the relevant qualification. Billy enrolled on the 2 year course which the Hotel paid for and supported with. He attended the College 1 day per week and had a 1 half day tutorial because of the interpretation of the technical information. Throughout this time Billy also continued in the Restaurant and worked 1 day per week in Maintenance painting the back areas of the Hotel to enable him to gain experience.
Billy has just completed a 2 year NVQ in Painting and Decorating and passed with credits and will move into Maintenance on a permanent basis later in the year.
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