Deaf Edinburgh man who was out of job for eight years now thriving in Asda role

A man who has been deaf since birth and struggled to find a job for eight years is now thriving in his role at an Asda store in Edinburgh, with some colleagues even learning sign language to support him.

Monday, 30th September 2019, 11:01 am
Billy went to a recruitment day with disability support group All in Edinburgh and was successful in securing his position after eight years out of work

Billy Chan, 59, has worked at the Chesser store for 11 months following his success at a recruitment day which disability support group All In Edinburgh took him to.

The group assisted with job applications and work visits to allow him to find out more about working within retail and sent along an interpreter to his interviews.

Mr Chan said: "It's been difficult to find work with both my age and being deaf at the same time.

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Some of Billy's colleagues have been learning sign language to support and communicate with him.

"The managers and supervisors have been very kind and patient with me in terms of my deafness, which I am thankful for. I've found all my co-workers to be very accommodating of my disability too.

"I was quite hesitant at starting my job as it had been quite a long time since I last worked and with my deafness providing a challenging effort to communicate with anyone, but I was ready to get back into work."

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He added: "My co-workers have been learning a few signs in sign language to communicate with me which is always nice as I know it is quite challenging, it's hard to learn and to understand.

Peter McAloon, deputy store manager, said: "No one had given him a chance and giving people a chance is what Asda is all about.

“Disability should not be seen as a barrier.A number of his colleagues have learned basic sign language so they can communicate with Billy. Some have learned enough so they can have a conversation with him. I think that is brilliant, I was quite shocked by it.

"He has a very good manner with customers who approach him too. He takes them to another colleague or line manager who explain that he is deaf. We have a lot of regulars in the store so they all know him."

A spokesperson for All In Edinburgh said: "Billy has a strong work ethic and just needed a good opportunity within the right team. His management and co- workers have been a great support and welcomed him into the team and encouraged him to get involved with the social aspect of the role.

“The communication with Asda has been great. If there is any additional support Billy’s team have contacted All in Edinburgh directly to arrange new ways of working."