Walsall Deaf Community Services is a charity organisation serving the local community. It is committed to improving the lives of Deaf people in Walsall and surrounding areas. A Social Committee at the centre is responsible for organising various social activities to bring the deaf community together.
Henry Gaskin is an Achieving Together student who has ambitions to work with deaf children. As a first step towards reaching his goal, Henry is also studying towards a Level 1 BSL qualification alongside his main programme of study at Walsall College. The Work Experience Pilot scheme gave Henry an opportunity to gain a work placement in an organisation which supports the deaf community. It was a chance to experience first-hand the type of activities which are undertaken in a real working environment and what would be expected from him should he follow his dream.
Initially, Henry attended the work experience placement one day a week and began by supporting members of the team with a range of duties. His enthusiasm and commitment shone through and the staff were so impressed by his willingness to learn and take part, that they set him a project to support the development of a coffee shop within the centre. As a result, Henry asked to volunteer extra time at the centre and became a valued member of the team during his two-month placement.
From completing his placement, Henry has gained valuable experience in customer service, team working and administration. He has also made valuable contacts within an environment where he plans to return to in the future.
Pauline Beckett, Managing Director at Walsall Deaf People’s Centre commented: “While Henry was at the Deaf Centre he helped to produce posters advertising the Disability Awards, application forms for BSL students, prepare meeting documents and also general office duties. His behaviour was exemplary and nothing was too much trouble for him. He was always very polite and his time keeping and attendance was excellent.
“He fitted in very well with the rest of the staff and communicated very well with our deaf staff. He was very good at brain storming sessions and always ready to put ideas forward. All in all it was a pleasure to have him at the Deaf Centre and we hope that he enjoyed his time here too.”
Henry said: “Working at Walsall Deaf People’s Centre was a brilliant eye-opener for me. It has given me a lot of experience working with deaf people and in an office environment. It’s also helped me confirm that this is definitely the area I want to work in as a career.”