The first stage of the project involves collecting and analyzing data from three different categories of surveys: individual surveys of deaf youth, surveys of youth deaf associations, and surveys of professional services. The aim is to determine attitudes and levels of knowledge among young d/Deaf job seekers regarding employment regulations.
To analyze and interpret the data collected in the project, the European Union of the Deaf Youth hired an external researcher. The full report, including the statistics and conclusions, can be downloaded from the links at the section below. Below are the key findings and conclusions per category:
The Individual Deaf Youth Survey included 270 deaf/hard of hearing youths from 24 countries, with the highest number of participants from Italy, Spain, and The Netherlands. Most were women between 22 and 28 years old who communicated through signed languages and had attended deaf schools. Despite their education, unemployment rates were high among deaf/hard of hearing young individuals, with the greatest number of unemployed from Italy and Spain, followed by France. Many unemployed deaf youth stated they never had a previous job and were either actively or passively looking for work. Common reasons for unemployment included still studying, lack of job experience, lack of a network, and insufficient government support. Further questions could help understand workplace accessibility and the availability of sign language interpreters.
The Professional Services survey received 38 responses from Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, and The Netherlands. The majority of respondents were school staff, job coaches, and social workers, and most of them were hearing, followed by deaf and hard of hearing. Schools for deaf and hard of hearing are the main collaboration type among professional services staff. According to the professional services staff, the main challenges faced by deaf and hard of hearing job seekers are language barriers, lack of job search skills, limited opportunities, lack of interpersonal skills and work experience, and lack of training or education. The data analyzed was inconclusive in determining the average rate of young deaf and hard of hearing individuals obtaining employment through their service, as most respondents did not fully answer the question. Additionally, many hearing staff face communication barriers with their deaf and hard of hearing customers.
Out of the expected 31 responses, only 21 Youth National Associations of the Deaf in Europe submitted their responses to the survey. The YNADs highlight social and political challenges such as language and audism, discrimination, lack of professional services, and government support. In contrast, deaf youth indicate their personal/individual challenges as their top priority.
Their perceptions of professional services for employment differ across Europe, with 18.33% agreeing that professional services include a career consultant, followed by 16.67% including employment agencies, 13.33% including job coaches and social workers, and 10% including recruiters and independent NGOs. A small percentage believes that professional services also include school teachers.
Lastly, the key findings highlight the most prominent results for the next stage in the project and the collective:
- Develop resources and materials based on deaf and hard of hearing youth job seekers’ needs, professional services workers’ experience, and YNADs input.
- Explore collaboration with external partners such as government, employment agencies, National Associations of Disabilities and companies to expand job opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing job seekers.
- Focus on relationships between professional services employees and deaf and hard of hearing school institutions to prepare and guide young individuals into the job market.
Establish a professional service centre specialized for deaf and hard of hearing job seekers to minimize language barriers and provide focus groups.
- Provide materials and resources for confidence building, self-analysis, interpersonal skills, and workplace responsibilities.
- Develop an accessible website portal designed for deaf and hard of hearing youth job seekers with resources, materials, and best practices for job search, CVs and application, as well as links to the job listing websites.