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Gloucestershire Business News

Building society supports deaf person into employment

A Brockworth-based building society are currently providing opportunities to three GEM Project participants with varying needs.

Coventry Building Society has supported both a deaf and blind person into employment through our GEM Project initiative.

Coventry Building Society, which has a base at Gloucester Business Park, initially offered 12 weeks' work experience to each person - a blind individual, a deaf person and someone with a criminal background.

So far, the opportunity has resulted in one GEM gaining part time paid employment with hopefully more to come.

Liz, a GEM participant who is deaf said: "Before joining the GEM Project I hadn't worked for five years as I was unable to find work.

"I was given the opportunity to complete a 3-month work trial at Coventry Building Society and have now been offered a part time job.

"Previously, I was very isolated, but this has given me my confidence back and helped me to rebuild my life again."

The result of supporting these GEM participants marks a special occasion for Coventry Building Society as they became the first financial services organisation to receive the GEM Exemplar Employer award.

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A GEM Exemplar Employer is an organisation that believes every person should have an opportunity to engage in meaningful work and this accolade recognises an organisation's commitment to the value of providing these opportunities.

Hannah Daniels, lending operations manager at Coventry Building Society, said: "The Coventry have a huge social conscience and providing opportunities for people with disabilities is the right thing to do.

"The long-term benefits for the organisation far outweigh any short-term challenges."

Joseph Kopec, new lending coach and associate trainer at Coventry Building Society, added: "My experience with GEM and working closely with our two work placements has been both challenging and very rewarding"

"It's the first time I've worked with someone who is deaf and another person who is blind, so their needs were completely different.

"However, I've learnt new skills including some sign language and this whole experience has been so rewarding.

"I feel I have made a real difference, as we have offered an opportunity to those who may not have had this if we hadn't started working with the GEM Project."

The GEM Project is delivered by a consortium of over 40 community focused organisations, managed by Gloucestershire Gateway Trust (GGT) on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council.

Cllr Kathy Williams, cabinet member for adult social care delivery at Gloucestershire County Council said: "There is a mountain of untapped talent we can unlock together bringing many benefits to organisations as well as individuals."

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