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Story of the Month

Paul’s Story

Updated: 30th November 2016

In this month’s Story of the Month we meet Paul Ryder, the Supervisor of the Communtiy Employment Scheme based in Deaf Village Ireland (DVI) in Cabra in Dublin. Paul tells us a bit about himself and his work in DVI. Story of the Month: Paul Ryder 2016.

Paul Ryder


Paul Ryder is from Tuam in County Galway. He is the youngest of three boys, with one older brother who is hard of hearing and another brother who is hearing.

Paul said that he attended a class for Deaf children in Galway until he was about 10 years old. When his older brother was moving to secondary school, Paul’s parents decided that it would be best for him to go to St Joseph’s School for Deaf Boys in Cabra.

They also decided to send Paul to St Joseph’s at the same time as his brother, and so Paul spent his last three years of Primary School in St Joseph’s.

St Joseph’s School

Paul says going to St Joseph’s was a very important step in his life. It made me who I am, he says. “In St Joseph’s I had lots of opportunities to get involved in different things. I got involved in sports, the students’ union, and running the school shop. These were all things that would have been more difficult for me to do in a mainstream school”.

Paul loved sports, and before he had even finished school he had played football and water polo for the Deaf national teams. He loved the travel and the camaraderie of playing with those teams.
Although Paul still has a strong connection with his home county of Galway, he knew when he was doing his leaving certificate that he wanted to stay in Dublin with his friends. His aim was to get a place in college after completing his Leaving Certificate. Story of the Month: Paul Ryder 2016.

Paul with the National Water Polo Team

Bolton Street, DIT

Paul got a place on a Civil Engineering course in Bolton Street in 2000 and says that going to college was a big culture shock for him. He says he quickly realised that college was very different from school! In school he received language support and was in a class of less than ten pupils.

In college you had to find your way within a big college campus and a large group of students with much less support. For a while he didn’t know if he would survive in college. He had the support of a note taker for lectures, but he found out that he needed to spend some extra time going over the notes and rewriting them in his own words in order to absorb the information. Paul says that teamwork with his fellow students was vital to him being successful in college.


Teamwork was vitial to being successful in college.


Paul was strong at technical drawing – he had studied this in St Joseph’s while most of his fellow students had never done it before. However, Paul really struggled with science – which he had never studied previously. Paul supported some of his fellow students with the technical drawing course, while they supported him with the science subject. There were also group projects which they had to complete.

Paul says that teamwork with his fellow sudents was vital in helping him to complete his course successfully, and the importance of teamwork is something that has stayed with him since then. Story of the Month: Paul Ryder 2016.

Paul on Fox Glacier, New Zealand

The World of Work

Paul graduated from college in 2003 with a Diploma in Civil Engineering. After a month of searching for a job in Dublin, he returned home to Galway and got a job in Athenry working with a civil engineering company. His job involved estimating the cost of different building projects, and this required a lot of telephone work.

Paul says that he can make calls to family and friends he is familiar with, but talking to strangers with a wide variety of accents on the phone was both stressful and difficult. Paul lasted 9 months in this job, and then he moved to a new job based in Dublin.

The new job was with a consultant engineering company, and Paul’s job was based in the structural engineering services department where he worked as a Computer–Aided Design (CAD) technician. This was something Paul enjoyed and did not involve telephone work. He was also back in Dublin where he could easily meet his friends in the Deaf Community and of course continue his involvement with sports!

Paul worked in this company for over 4 years until the crash of the Celtic tiger. He became involved with the Irish Deaf Sports Association (now Deaf Sports Ireland – DSI), and later began working full–time with them. Paul was working with DSI when the new campus called Deaf Village Ireland (DVI) in Cabra opened in 2012.

Paul says this was an exciting time to be working with a Deaf organisation, as all the organisations came together to work on the same campus. A year later Paul applied for a new job based in DVI, the post of Supervisor of a new Community Employment Scheme (CE). This CE scheme is unique in the country, as it is the only one that caters exclusively for Deaf people.

DVI CE Scheme

The CE Scheme in DVI is run in exactly the same way as other CE schemes around the country under the supervision of the Department of Social Protection. The aim of the CE scheme is to support participants in securing employment through work experience, training and personal development. Paul says that the CE scheme in DVI is a really empowering experience for the Deaf participants on the scheme.

“Our CE Scheme means that every participant is fully included in every aspect of the scheme. So whether it is completing work tasks, having a coffee break, or going on a training course, there are always people to chat to in Irish Sign Language. No other CE scheme in the country can offer that to a Deaf person” says Paul.

Paul says that being a member of a group of Deaf people working together is very powerful for the participants, as it helps build self-confidence and helps people to make friends. He says that coffee breaks and lunch breaks, where everyone comes together for a chat, is a vital part of the experience for people on the CE scheme.

“As a Deaf person, I know how isolating it can be when you are the only Deaf person in the workplace. DVI helps build the self-confidence and identity of the participants, so that they can go out and find their own way in the wider world” says Paul.


“DVI helps build the self-confidence and identity of participants.”


For some of the participants on the CE scheme, it may well be the first time in their lives that they have felt part of a group or part of a team. Paul says that there is a strong culture of teamwork among the participants, and he believes this is a vital element in the succes of the scheme.



The scheme offers a wide variety of work experience, from clerical, reception, gardening, security and cleaning, and there are presently over 20 people on the scheme. Participants have completed a range of training courses from busines administration to pitch maintenance. Already, since the scheme commenced five participants have gone on to further education, while thirteen have secured employment. Story of the Month: Paul Ryder 2016.

Paul at Uluru Rock, Australia

The future

Paul says that he loves his job as CE supervisior and feels privileged to be able to play a part in supporting the participants to achieve their goals. As regards the future, Paul hopes that the Deaf organisations in DVI and elsewhere work together to provide the best supports and services for young Deaf people, especially school leavers who do not go on to third level education, to enable them to achieve their full potential in their adult lives.

Paul loves travelling, and he would love to travel all around South America and visit Machu Picchu in Peru, sometime in the future. He also says he would love to see Galway winning an All–Ireland hurling final…but he may be waiting a while on that one! Line Break Image

Check out our previous Story of the Month!

Hearing loss and my career
by Dr. Naoimh Fox
July 2016

When I was 22 years old I became aware of certain high frequency sounds that I could not hear... Read On…

More Stories of the Month can be viewed here... Story of the Month: Hearing loss and my career by Dr. Naoimh Fox 2016.




more...Hearing loss costs an estimated €2.2bn every year in Ireland.


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