"BEING part of a company that makes you feel loved, supported and included is one of the best feelings we could ever experience," signed Lesline Aiken, a deaf verification clerk at National Commercial Bank (NCB) Jamaica Limited.
"Since joining NCB in 1997, my experience has been one filled with kindness and understanding. Don't get me wrong, sometimes the work gets to you, but the support from the teams I have worked with has helped to carry the load and make the journey delightful," added Aiken.
To commemorate International Week of Deaf People 2022, CEO of NCB Septimus "Bob" Blake hosted three of the organisation's longest-serving deaf employees at a special breakfast event, as part of the organisation's week-long celebrations for its deaf team members.
September 19-25, 2022 is observed as International Week of Deaf People by the World Federation of the Deaf, and is this year themed 'Celebrating thriving deaf communities'.
"We are a company that is rooted in its purpose of empowering people, unlocking dreams and building communities," Blake said. "Our culture is one of inclusivity and diversity, and we do our best to ensure no one is left behind."
With the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) estimating that two per cent of the Jamaican population is deaf, and the recent passing of the Disabilities Act by the Government of Jamaica, NCB has continued to build on its efforts of inclusion and accessibility by not only celebrating its deaf team members, but also by making the necessary adjustments to its daily operations and communications to ensure that they are in keeping with global standards.
"We are truly grateful to have these ladies on our team, as they continue to demonstrate our core values every day, while being an inspiration to all. Lesline, and both Judiths have not only excelled in their respective roles within the organisation, they are also some of our longest-serving team members, with a combined fifty-seven years of service between the three of them," Blake added,
Along with Aiken, Judith Jones, mail clerk, and Judith Brown, a proof operator, are members of the company's Enterprise Operations Division.
In addition to celebrating its deaf employees, NCB has also made significant strides to support national efforts to ensure that persons with disabilities (PWDs) are fully integrated into society, and have access to the appropriate care and support services they need.
To this end, 13 customer-facing staff members were trained as part of a programme facilitated by RISE Life Management Services, through a grant from the European Union.
The initiative includes training, financial support, as well as the promotion of the rights of PWDs, and provides Jamaican Sign Language training for approximately 100 people from government agencies and departments that interact with members of the deaf community.
This forms part of NCB's longer-term efforts to train staff members and ensure that banking and other financial services offered by the business are accessible to PWDs.
NCB's week of celebrations will be rounded out with a staff webinar on the topic, 'Safeguarding Deaf People in Times of Crisis', as well as sign language seminars for staff and customers.