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Husband and wife, Martin and Thirath both registered with Zebra Access for specialist employability support on the Black Countries Futures project during 2020. Both had, unfortunately been made redundant from their jobs, Thirath in June and Martin in September, due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the challenges placed on their employers. Thirath expressively wished to return to working in warehouses and we set about finding those businesses that were not subsequently challenged or affected by the pandemic restrictions. Armed with a newly revamped CV and cover letter we trawled and researched local companies for warehouse work and came across JCB’s advert for Assembly Operators and immediately put in an application. Thirath was subsequently invited for an assessment/interview and we put in a few interview roleplay practice sessions and arranged for an interpreter to support Thirath at her interview. Thirath did so well at her interview, which also included a practical assessment on using the correct tools on a test assembly jig, and on the back of her previous warehouse experience, they offered her the job with an almost immediate start! Thirath underwent induction training and was like a duck to water when she was placed in the Cabs systems department at the huge site and has been happily settled ever since and has impressed them so much that they have now offered her a permanent position as Warehouse Logistics Operative this month!

 Thirath said “Bob Marsh has been very supportive every step of the way of my support into employment with JCB. Bob persuaded JCB to offer me an interview with an interpreter supporting the dialogue. Without that support I would not be where I am now. Bob has supported me with responses to other employers prior to JCB which I found really helpful as English is not my first language. I would most definitely recommend Zebra Access and the BCF project to family and friends. The whole team at Zebra Access have been very supportive, including advocacy, English and Maths tutorials and of course Bob for the wonderful employment support

'Thumbs up’ from Martin and Thirath

Martin previously worked as a CNC operator and CAD Programming but, sadly, after 11 years with the company, which was facing difficulties and challenges due to the Coronavirus pandemic, he was made redundant as they scaled back due to lack of orders for production. We created a new robust CV that highlights Martin’s CNC & CAD skills and we set about researching for local companies that would utilise his machinery experience. We sent out many cover letters and CVs but they generated little to no responses, so a change in tactics and approach was needed. We explored JCB’s website where they had CNCs and CAD prospects but no opportunities at the time. However, when making enquiries, Martin was invited by JCB to apply for Assembly Operator jobs that were being advertised with a view to looking into utilising his machinery skills. We supported Martin with an application and, like Thirath, he was invited to attend an assessment/interview and passed with flying colours! Martin started his new full-time role in March as an Assembly Operative working on a constantly moving production line and he has thrived there ever since.

Martin commented “Bob and Zebra Access were very supportive with looking for jobs and corresponding with employers and booking sign language interpreters for my interviews and finally support for the induction training with my current employer, JCB. Very happy with the service and Black Country Futures, it is a very useful programme for Deaf people to find jobs”                                                                                                      

Proudly posing outside JCB

Bob Marsh, Zebra Access’ Head of Specialist Employment Services proudly exclaimed “It has been a wonderful journey for us to place, not just one, but two and even going one better for a husband and wife to work for the same wonderful company. JCB themselves have been extremely accommodating for Thirath and Martin and have constantly engaged with us to address any Health and Safety issues and all their communication requirements and gaining practical solutions from the benefit of our experience”.                                                  

Everyone at Zebra Access wish Thirath and Martin all the very best wishes for their exciting future with JCB.







Zebra Access CIO provides services and support to Deaf, Deaf Blind and Hard of Hearing people with thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund. Services includes Employment Services, English/Maths tutorials, Advocacy, Community Development, BSL/Deaf Awareness, drop-in sessions dealing with a range of queries, complaints, form filling, and many more. Zebra Access staff and volunteers have the right to work in a safe and abuse free environment. The organisation will not tolerate any kind of abuse against its staff, volunteers or property.

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