Senja overcomes communication barriers to excel in his trade

Job Seeker, Senja, is wearing his new uniform and an orange hard hat. He is standing on a construction site.Finding secure work can be incredibly challenging for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, even when they have all the right qualifications.

WISE Employment’s customer Senja, who is Deaf, had experienced difficulty during the Covid-19 pandemic to find work after relocating to Adelaide from Melbourne. Despite his plumbing certifications, strong work ethic and current health climate, communication barriers were holding businesses back from employing Senja.

“Relying on Auslan as my preferred method of communication has been a hurdle for me. Not many people hiring trades are familiar with Auslan or have experience employing people that are Deaf or Hard of Hearing,” Senja explained.

After struggling to find work, a family friend suggested WISE Employment may be able to support his job search in the local market. After getting in contact with the West Adelaide branch, he was set up with his Employment Consultant Naomi, who immediately noticed his potential.

“I could already see that he was extremely determined and a great problem solver. He was very passionate about his work and really enjoyed fixing things up. He is a very strong visual learner, which is great because he can pick things up very easily on the go,” she said.

After supporting Senja to transition his plumbing licence and certificates from Victoria to South Australia, the team reached out to local plumbing business Tech2o and set up an interview with an Auslan interpreter present. Shortly after, Senja was hired.

Manager at Tech2o, Jason, says Senja’s deafness has never hindered his work, reporting that “he is dedicated, has integrity and his work quality is excellent. We couldn’t be happier to have him as a tradesperson.”

This notion is supported by Clayton, Senja’s co-worker, who says his disability has proved a real advantage on site.

“Job sites are often extremely loud, but Senja doesn’t hear the distractions the other workers do. He just gets the job done.”

“Communication is no issue for us, he’s able to communicate with the team and customers seamlessly using gestures, lip reading, FaceTime and note writing. He’s amazing at his job and always one step ahead of everyone. I couldn’t do it without him!”

Senja has enjoyed the diversity of work and constant learning at Tech2o.

“It has been great so far, I’m really lucky that I’ve been able to work with co-workers and managers without having any issues. The work environment has presented some great challenges for me and I’m loving learning new things that I have not been able to in past employment.”

Most of all, Senja’s glad to be working at Tech2o because of the security it offers. His newfound financial stability means that he is able to provide for his family and their future, which is his number one priority.

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