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Richard registered with Zebra Access’ Employment Job Club under their Black Country Futures (BCF) project in July 2020 after previously working for Asda for 10 years. Richard had tried unsuccessfully to apply for several jobs and attended a few interviews without success. After his first appointment with Bob Marsh, the Employment Officer- they went through Richard’s aspirations and quickly established that with Richard’s friendly and charismatic approach and customer service background experience he should soon be in work. 

Utilising some employer engagement, Bob contacted Mike Brickliffe, Operations Manager at Argonaut Enterprises CIC, as they had a vacancy for a cleaning operative. They requested a provision of Richard’s CV; which Bob had newly revamped for him. Mike then arranged an interview with Richard but, prior to the interview, Bob provided Richard with some interview role play practice and useful tips. Argonaut Enterprises CIC were impressed with how Richard conducted himself at his interview and within days, Richard was offered the job! Richard, and all of us us at Zebra Access, were delighted to hear the news. Due to the high-level expectations of the contractor, Richard underwent some training and was soon working at his own initiative and is thoroughly enjoying the experience of being his own ‘boss’

Proud Richard in uniform 

Richard commented “I was amazed to gain a job in such a short time. I started my one to one support with Bob Marsh in July and within a week Bob arranged my interview with Argonaut Enterprises. Bob supported me with interview practice, how to demonstrate my skills, dress code etc which I found very useful. I was so pleased when I was offered the job as a cleaning operative working 20+ hours per week. Big thanks to Bob and Zebra Access, without them I would not have got this job!

Bob has kept in regular contact with both Richard and Mike to ensure all was well and that Richard was happily settled.

Bob said “It has been a pleasure to support Richard and helping him to gain work. His approach to job searching has been recognised as nothing short of positive and proactive and that is what I believed got him this job so, all credit to Richard! I wish him all the very best in his new position with Argonaut Enterprises and wish to extend our thanks Mike for offering Richard the chance to work again

Richard with Mike and cake

Richard’s manager, Mike Brickliffe said “After getting an urgent request from a major client for additional cleaning due to Covid 19, we were looking for an independent experienced worker. I contacted Bob at Zebra Access with a list of our requirements, and he gave us Richard’s CV as a good match. After meeting Richard, I felt a good rapport with him and felt he would be a great addition to our team. He even brought in a cake for Argonaut’s 10th birthday! Our clients are very happy to have Richard cleaning for them. We hope he will be with us for a long time to come”                                                                                  

Chris Beech, Project Development Manager for Zebra Access, commented “The BCF (Black Country Futures) project funded by the National Lottery and led by Bob Marsh is proving to be an invaluable lifeline for local Deaf people like Richard. Despite being launched in June with various lockdown restrictions in place, three participants to date have already secured life changing employment during these unprecedented times where competition for jobs is unusually high. This is compounded by the increasingly complex myriad recruitment processes employed by recruitment agencies and organisations that relies predominately on telecommunication. This goes to show how important it is for Deaf, Deaf Blind and Hard of Hearing people to have access to specialised holistic employment support enabling them to access information, training, opportunities and mentors in their preferred language. Equally it shows that anything is possible and achievable when communication barriers are removed.

We are naturally delighted with how well this project has started and will continue to work hard with our delivery partners in developing this project further to enhance Deaf, Deaf Blind and Hard of Hearing people’s employment opportunities



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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