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Same boat, different sails...

My name is Charlie. I started working for Deaf Umbrella on 1st December 2014 as an Apprentice Administrative Assistant. When I first came to Deaf Umbrella I had little knowledge of the deaf community and was unfamiliar with sign language. Since working with Deaf Umbrella I have learned a lot about people who are deaf and the difficulties they face. I have learned some basic sign language including asking if someone would like a tea with sugar! I have also learned how to spell out my name in sign language and I feel that it is a more interesting way of communication than speaking! Eventually when familiar with a sign you naturally can understand it and make the link to the correct word. To explain the difference between talking and signing, it is similar to the difference between watching a movie and reading a book! It is in the same boat but with different sails!

I am studying a Level 2 NVQ in Business and Administration at Bexley College which ties in with the work I am doing and my colleagues have been very supportive with any questions I need answering to do with this. I hope to be able to gain all relevant skills at college that I need to succeed in my role with Deaf Umbrella and assist colleagues and customers as much as possible in the workplace. I am aiming to take on more difficult and complex tasks as time goes on, but for the moment I am getting used to more basic tasks and learning how day to day life is in an office environment.

I have been gaining lots of experience in the office including typing, using the telephone; different software and general ad hoc duties around the workplace. The staff here are all amazing people and I think everyone here is unique in their own way and I feel I have brought along my own uniqueness to the table (weirdness too!). I have felt highly respected and a lot of patience has been shown to me during the time I have been settling in and getting used to the tasks that I need to complete. Being completely honest, I didn’t think I would ever work with such good colleagues and I couldn’t have asked for a better place to work! I am excited about the future of Deaf Umbrella. I think it is an excellent company and I feel very privileged to be a part of it.

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