Fifteen years ago I started to support deaf and hard of hearing people in the labour market. As an experience expert I noticed how difficult it is as a deaf person to find work and to keep it. For that reason I started Klinktprima.nl; a website with stories of experience, tips and information for deaf and hard of hearing people, but also for employers and professionals. Since Klinktprima is now 15 years old, I would like to take this opportunity to tell you more about how I have fared over the past 15 years in my quest to help deaf and hard of hearing people find – and keep – a job.
Claire is an independent entrepreneur and uses her company Klinktprima.nl to support people with hearing disabilities in the labor market. She is deaf and lives with her husband and her son in Helmond.
My first job as a medical laboratory assistant
Before I started with Soundsprima, I worked as a medical laboratory technician. I lost my last job as a laboratory technician when the laboratory of that company moved to South Limburg and my contract was not renewed because I was pregnant.
After the birth of my son, I started applying again in 2011 for a job as a laboratory technician. The lack of vacancies made this difficult. During the interviews I did have, it went wrong for the weekend and night shifts. Because there are many (emergency) phone calls, I was not suitable as a deaf person.
After these attempts, I decided to focus on the deaf world and the job market as a volunteer. This way I could look around at my leisure and discover what I could do and if I could find nice work that way.
15-jarig jubileum van klinktprima.nl
Video van de website Klinkprima, waarin Claire zichzelf voorstelt en uitlegt wat Klinktprima doet.
In 2007, my website Klinktprima was launched. The website was immediately well visited and I received good responses from the deaf world.
Through the Dovenschap I got the chance to make Klinktprima more widely known through the Platform Auditory Limitations Work (PAW). Various reintegration agencies and interest groups took part with the aim of improving the labour market for the deaf and hard of hearing.
For me it is important to give information to employers, professionals and to the group of deaf and hard of hearing jobseekers, as well as employees. There is a lack of information on how to work and communicate with deaf people. There are many help options, from job coaching and career guidance to various aids and sign language interpreters. But sharing experiences is an important addition, because it shows them examples of what can be done with their talents – despite their disability.
My network expanded quickly, also because of the cooperation with different organisations. I am also sometimes approached by hearing students asking if I can help them with information about deaf culture, the working position of deaf people and sign language. Several media also knew to find me and dedicated articles to the position of deaf people on the labor market.
My own company
At different projects I learned a lot as a volunteer and ambassador. This made me decide in 2017 to make a company out of Klinktprima. This way I could simultaneously continue my work as a facilitator, inspirer and trainer and at the same time perform paid work assignments.
All these years I have been studying important topics like ‘successfully working on your competences’, ‘communication in the workplace’ and ‘labour participation’ through self-study. For this I have written several articles with which I give information and tips to teach others how you can still participate in society and the labour market with your disability.
Deaf and hard of hearing jobseekers also know to find me often with questions about job applications and work problems. I find it very nice to be able to help jobseekers with my answers and tips from my own experiences and knowledge.
This kind of work to stand up for people with hearing disabilities in the labour market gives me a lot of positive energy and satisfaction. It is always great to be able to help someone find a nice job. Or to give (hearing) professionals an eye-opener about what it is like to be deaf or hearing impaired during a meeting.
The meaning of my commitment to people
Unfortunately, employers are still ignorant, which makes them hesitant to hire a deaf person. By giving the right information, there is often more understanding and certain doubts can be removed. This way they start thinking in possibilities instead of limitations. Sometimes it is necessary to ‘turn the world upside down’ and immerse employers in the deaf world, for example by putting on hearing protectors and letting them experience what that is like.
I am still regularly approached by students who are doing research on deaf people. I think along with them or give my input as a respondent for their surveys. In this way I also contribute to the scientific research that is being done on this topic.
Narrowing the gap
With Soundsprima, I can mean something for various target groups in different ways. As a source of information, as a buddy for jobseekers, as a trainer or inspirer or by giving tips about job opportunities or improving cooperation in the workplace.
It is my passion and pride to mean so much to others. In this way, participation in society and the labour market becomes easier and the gap between the hearing impaired and the hearing society smaller.