Six months ago, Ford Motor Company awarded a program at the University of Cologne for the 2017 Ford College Community Challenge. The University’s program’s objective is to help deaf citizens gain entry into the hospitality industry such as restaurants, hotels, and cafes.
Today, the program is still operating in the city.
It began when a group of students at the University of Cologne saw their deaf classmates struggle with ordering lunch. The students then created a partnership with local cafes to provide a safe hands on learning environment for deaf trainees to hone their social and trade skills by using pop-up events.
Restaurants sometimes set up popups with smaller menus and fewer staff to run the stall at public events. By doing this, the restaurant is able to experiment and provide a safe learning environment. Trainees learn how to process orders, serving, and how to interact with the hearing public in a professional manner.
Trainees enter the program by submitting an application, completing an interview in sign language on Skype, and then they pair up with a mentor. The candidates watch a training video and take a health/hygiene course. In order to start work at the cafe, they must pass the training test and get certified in health/hygiene.
After that, they can begin actual work and build their professional resumes.
Debbie Chennells, the manager of Ford Fund in Europe’s branch, had this to say about the University of Cologne’s program:
If you are deaf or hard of hearing and have never considered going into hospitality then you can come along and maybe gain a new skill set, develop your social skills, explore the possibilities and hopefully gain confidence. It is more about focusing on ability rather than disability, and that is why we support it.
-Debbie Chennells, manager of Ford Fund
Chennells stated that she plans to copy the program in other countries in Europe to help the deaf community.
For more information: POP-UP CAFÉS OFFER NEW SKILLS FOR DEAF at The Recruiter