by Joanne Botha

Media Works and eDeaf seek to empower the deaf in the workplace

Improvement in deaf education aims to fill employment targets for deaf South Africans

Providing the skills to integrate into the working world
Empower the Deaf in the workplace

Media Works, the Johannesburg based, adult education and training specialist, has joined forces with eDeaf to empower the previously marginalised Deaf community by finding candidates suitable employment and providing them with the necessary skills to successfully integrate into the hearing world.

Traditionally, the deaf community has had a low employment rate in South Africa. Reasons include the low standard of education in schools for the deaf and a very low level of literacy, as well as limited access to information on radio and television.

Companies have been encouraged to comply with employment legislation regulating employment targets for the disabled in order to achieve their BEE requirements. This process has proven to be very successful, indicating that in some career fields the deaf can be just, if not better, than their hearing counterparts.

“We are extremely optimistic by the changes that are taking place in South Africa with regards to the integration of the deaf into the hearing world” says Jesse Kotze, Managing Member at eDeaf.  

“We believe that eDeaf can make a difference with the products we offer and our success lies in our mantra - deaf trains deaf. This ensures that our candidates get the full benefit from the programme and hence a very smooth transition into their prospective careers.”

eDeaf has the mandate to place 1000 people over the next 10 years for a major retailer in the wholesale and retail sector. This will involve recruiting, training and placement of successful deaf candidates.

The Adult Education and Training (ABET) material in English and Mathematics, offered by Media Works, provides the tools for the unemployed deaf, that can’t read and write. After completing the courses they have a competent level of basic skills to enable them to further their studies, follow a career path or develop their general job skills.

On completion of the basic ABET courses, successful candidates must complete a work readiness course to enable them to be fully integrated into their prospective jobs. For this purpose, Nazereen Captieux-Bhana, executive member of eDeaf, developed the 18-month Bridging programme in conjunction with Media Works. The bridging programme teaches deaf learners to understand and implement English, cultivating the enjoyment of reading, thus enabling day to day learning.

The success of the Heads Up Bridging Programme is attributed to the fact that the programme is developed for deaf people by deaf people.

Rob Rees, Chief Operating Officer of Media Works concludes, “We still have a long way to go in ensuring not only the equality of education but also the opportunity of employment for the deaf community in South Africa. However, with these targets in place, and expansion opportunities for the future, changes will soon be tangible and evident.”

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