In our production, it has become perfectly normal for colleagues to communicate using their smartphones, making gestures and writing messages on boards. In June 2018, a deaf colleague, Patrick Mikkelsen, became part of the team. He is 28 years old, and started on a work experience scheme in Troldhede before being offered permanent employment in the autumn as a production worker.
“I was really happy to be gaining work experience at Troldtekt, and then I was thrilled when I was offered a permanent job,” says Patrick Mikkelsen.
Due to Patrick’s hearing impairment, his colleagues have to communicate with him in special ways. Therefore, all the departments have installed whiteboards which can be used for leaving messages for Patrick, while a number of his colleagues either write or dictate notes on their smartphones to deliver messages.
“Quite a lot of the time we don’t think much about the fact that Patrick is deaf. It’s become a normal part of the working day to communicate with Patrick using whiteboards or gestures, and we haven’t experienced a single instance of a message getting lost,” says production manager Kim Snebang. Patrick Mikkelsen nods in recognition.
“My colleagues gave me a very kind welcome, and they’ve been very willing to write messages to me when we need to talk. Several of them have even learned a bit of sign language – which is very nice, and also quite fun,” he says.
Good cooperation with Castberggård
Patrick’s work experience was arranged in cooperation with Castberggård’s job and development centre, which is keen for more people with hearing impairments to find a job. Kim Snebang is very happy with the cooperation with Castberggård, which has resulted in a new, skilled colleague joining the company.
“At a large factory like ours, we have some pretty strict safety procedures. Even though Patrick is unable to hear, we have had no qualms about taking him on. He is very safety-conscious, and he moves around in exactly the same way as his colleagues who can hear,” says Kim Snebang.
Through Castberggård, Patrick Mikkelsen has worked with a mentor, who has also talked to our employees in Troldhede about what it’s like to be deaf.