Jan 2018 Grimsby Telegraph

He has applied for 30 jobs in six months without success. But for Stephen Hastie one problem he takes for granted now appears to be an issue for potential employers. He is deaf. Since losing his job six months ago Stephen, 49, of Pilgrim Avenue, Immingham has spent six fruitless months trying to get back into work. He says that he has never had this problem before, starting work at 17 and having been in his previous post as a driver on Immingham Docks for 15 years. He has been left devastated after struggling to find new work, and wonders if his hearing problems are the problem.

His plight even prompted wife Karen to make an emotional appeal on social media pleading with any prospective employers to give her husband a chance. Her post generated a surge of ideas, tips and kind messages of support - but still no work. Stephen has made it to four interviews but on each occasion was left disappointed. And he says despite signing up with a number of recruitment agencies, they have not come back to him with any form of work. Stephen is mainly looking for work as a driver, as he has a clean driving licence, a wealth of experience and professional licences. He recently attended an interview for a role as a delivery driver, only to be told that he would not be getting the job. However, within a few weeks, he saw that the same job was being advertised again, making him believe that the only reason he did not get it was because of his hearing.

Stephen HastieIn order to help with his hearing, he has a Cochlear implant that allows him to hear some sounds, especially loud ones, which further adds to his confusion about why he would not be considered for a driving job. He said: "I have never had this problem at all before, in the past I have always been able to go from one job to the other without any difficulty. Now though it seems that because of my hearing nobody wants to give me a chance despite my experience. I have been to interviews, where as soon as I arrive the people seem unaware that I am actually deaf and I am having to try and explain my situation to them. They usually seem to start backing off giving me a job. It seems to me that once you tell someone that you are deaf they do not want to think about how they can adapt so that you would be able to work alongside them effectively. But with the technology available and other forms of communication, I do not see why there would be a problem, particularly if I was doing a delivery job. All I need to do is collect the items and make sure they are dropped off correctly, it is something that I have done for years, why should it be a problem now?” Stephen has said that he is able to drive any vehicle weighing up to three and a half tonnes, and his preferred role would be a long distance driving position.

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