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Wycliffe preparing vegetables in the kitchen

Born with perfect hearing and eyesight, Wycliffe suffered some hearing loss in his adult life and then acquired a visual impairment five years ago.

With a passion for food, Wycliffe went to college to study professional food and cookery. When he finished his studies, he signed on and started looking for jobs working with food. Although he attended a lot of interviews, he felt he was being turned down because of his disabilities. The Job Centre told him about BID's Employment Service, and we first met Wycliffe when he arrived at the Employment Service.

Wycliffe's story:
I came to the Employment Service and I met Karen, who was really nice. She saw my potential and said she was going to help me find a job. My confidence was a bit low as I had been applying for jobs and not getting them. I thought employers were being put off by my hearing loss as sometimes they would ask me a question in the interview which I couldn't hear, so perhaps they thought I might be a problem in the kitchen.

I joined BID's Job Club and Karen supported me so much. She helped me practice my interview skills, showed me how to look for jobs and to complete applications. We even did mock interviews which was useful.

Karen told me about the job at the Signing Tree, working in the kitchen so I went for the interview and I got the job! I was a bit nervy about doing something new but everything has gone really well and I have learned a lot, especially how to cook different dishes and desserts. I did make some mistakes in the early days and had to throw a few cakes away that I'd made, but my manager Louise said it was OK to make mistakes as that's how you learn. Karen also sorted out an Access to Work assessment to help me hear better in the kitchen.

This job really built my confidence and two years on, I feel I can take on any challenge now. My goal is to become a head chef and I have just got a new job at a 4 star hotel in Birmingham, where I am hoping to learn more, especially how to make international dishes and desserts. I am really looking forward to learning how things are done in a bigger kitchen and expanding my knowledge about food.

The support I got from the Employment team was great and I just want to say thanks to everyone for helping me achieve my goals.

Find out more about BID's Employment Service