Deaf Dundee dad, 21, pleads for a chance to work

Ricci Ashwood says he needs a job to provide for his partner Iona Duff and baby Lucas Ashwood.

A deaf man from Dundee has spoken of his struggle to provide for his family after being overlooked for work.

Ricci Ashwood lost most of his hearing after suffering from meningitis as a two-year-old.

He has partial hearing in one ear using a hearing aid but is completely deaf in the other.

Ricci, 21, is able to talk and lipreads if he is struggling to hear.

Following the birth of his son Lucas last month, he is now pleading for someone to give him a chance so he can provide for his family — but he thinks his hearing issues have put employers off hiring him.

Ricci lives with his girlfriend Iona, 18, who is also deaf.

He said: “If I don’t get a job soon we are not going to be able to pay the rent.

“If I get a job I will be able to provide for my little one and my partner so we don’t need to stress and worry.

“Companies are always worried about my safety because I’m deaf so I wasn’t getting anywhere with job applications.”

Ricci’s parents died within weeks of each other when he was 15 and he was latterly brought up by his grandmother.

He suffered further heartache last year when his son Blake died at only a few weeks old after being born prematurely.

He added: “I was depressed for months after Blake died but still applied for loads of jobs.

“I still haven’t had an interview, though.

“People who are deaf should be given a chance.

“Don’t just look at a CV and say, ‘he’s deaf it’s going be difficult for him’ or, ‘we can’t communicate with him’.”

Graham Findlay, CEO of North East Sensory Services (NESS) — which helps support people with sensory loss — said: “It is illegal to discriminate against anyone with a disability.

“There’s a higher than average level of people with sensory loss who are unemployed in Scotland.

“Those with hearing loss are about twice as likely to be unemployed as those without.”

He added: “We have a new project to support people in Dundee with sensory loss into work, and I would urge Ricci to get in touch with us.”