At Currys, we are continuing our efforts to build an inclusive workplace for colleagues and further our credentials as an accessible shopping destination for customers.

This week, 2 – 7 May, is Deaf Awareness Week and this year’s theme is deaf inclusion – highlighting how hearing loss impacts daily life and how we all need to come together to  help support colleagues and customers who are hearing impaired..

This can’t happen without a commitment to  continuous learning –, which is why throughout the week, we are running a number of face-to-face and virtual learning sessions and raising awareness of some inspiring colleague stories.

Currys colleague, Shahriyar Iftekhar, a 3.5T Delivery Driver based at Stevenage Distribution Centre shares his story.

Tell us about yourself

I am Shar Iftekhar, I’m a full-time 3.5T Delivery Driver for Currys and I live in Luton, Bedfordshire.

I’m sharing my story this week, as I was born profoundly deaf. Throughout my life, I have experienced communication barriers with everyone in the real world, from friends and family, to colleagues and co-workers but I have evolved to communicate by using written information or digital channels such as WhatsApp etc. I'm lucky I’m able to harness modern communication tools!

What inspired you to join the crew at Stevenage Distribution Centre at Currys?

I already had experience in delivery driving a 3.5T van, from my time working at Sainsburys. I was looking for a new challenge to improving my experience and travel to a wider area of places.

Tell us about your recruitment and onboarding experience – what type of things were put in place to welcome you into the business?

I was communicated to via email and sent pre-screening question in email format. I was invited to a face to face interview where I asked and arranged an interpreter to attend with me.

The interview was competency based and I had a chance to ask questions around what the day-to-day role looked like. We talked about how I was overcoming potential communication obstacles in my then current role.

I was later offered the position and access to work was set up, this allowed me to bring an interpreter in for any required training or reviews and general visits to keep lines of communication between myself and the workplace open.

I have completed a 2-day induction process, driving assessment and basic installation training all with an interpreter and have learnt about high standards of customer service, learnt how to lift products safely and properly, install products and the recycling of old products, I also spent a day learning all the driving procedures around my role.

What’s your preferred way to communicate? Do you use British Sign Language?

When I’m communicating with people who have regular hearing abilities, I use written language – written down on paper, or digitally via text, WhatsApp or Teams – or visual gestures.

But with deaf people, I always use British Sign Language.

What would your top tips be for other colleagues communicating with a person who is deaf?

We can use written communication as well (if not better!) than colleagues with regular hearing, so don’t be afraid to communicate via digital channels. But when in person, use gestures, write things down and make sure to keep facial connection for lipreading (many deaf people can read lipread very well).

What advice would you have given your younger self?

Learning to lipread at an early age will help you in the future.   – It is an incredible tool for being able to communicate with anyone who isn’t able to use British Sign Language.

What are you most looking forward to in the next 6 months?

I am looking forward to working towards becoming a 7.5T driver in the future.

If you’ve been inspired by Shar’s story and would like to jump in the driver’s seat, take a look at our current job vacancies to start your Currys career today:

Currys colleagues interested in learning the basics of British Sign Language, so that they have another way of communicating with hearing impaired colleagues, can sign up to a special virtual training session on 2nd or 3rd May.

Stacey Stockwell, a specialist Sign Language interpreter and Disability Awareness trainer, will be running an hour-long session on Microsoft Teams, which is open to all colleagues.

For more information, colleagues can contact Jess Albone, Employer Brand Manager.