Prepared to join the job market: Paulo's story

Bronze Award holder Paulo Caetano and Director of Development Alberto Lidji speaking to Award supporters at Windsor Castle.

Paulo Caetano has just completed his Bronze Award. At a recent fundraising dinner for The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Foundation, he shared his experience with HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, HRH The Earl of Wessex and supporters of the Award, explaining how, as a deaf person, the Award had better prepared him for the world of work. You can read his speech below.

"I'm deaf and I study in CED Jacob Rodrigues Pereira da Casa Pia de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal. Being deaf I often face great challenges, especially in my training.
When I found out about the Prémio Infante D. Henrique (the Award in Portugal) I thought it might be quite positive and fun for me. At the time I already belonged to a percussion ensemble for deaf youngsters - RitmoS - and so that was the activity I chose for the Skills section. I was also very excited about the Adventurous Journey.

Bronze Award holder Paulo Caetano and The Duke of EdinburghPrepared to join the hearing community

"I signed up for the Bronze Award and started living new, challenging experiences and overcoming obstacles. I participated as a volunteer in an NGO which prepares and distributes food to the homeless and practiced a new sport - futsal (indoor soccer). These two sections were held outside the institution where I study and no one could communicate in Portuguese Sign Language. A young deaf among several normal hearing people... and all the talking! It was a challenge to make myself understood and understand what was being said. I had to force myself to adapt my way of communicating and raise awareness of who was in my group to do it too! I managed! In the Adventurous Journey section I learned a lot, but the most striking was the realisation that there are situations where I have to be persistent, be very patient and not give up!

"In all sections I began to develop and improve important skills for my life. I managed to adapt myself to a different form of communication from my usual day-to-day; I worked as a team, respecting others, and in a disciplined and organised manner. I'm more responsible; I established relationship with the people I meet and keep the commitments I make. I am more confident to overcome new challenges. In the future I think I'll be better prepared to join the hearing community and the labour market thanks to the skills I am acquiring within the scope of the Award."

Help support more young people like Paulo

We rely on the generous support of corporate donors, trusts, foundations and dedicated individuals who enable us to extend the Award to more young people. Your support means the world to us and the young people who can take part. You can donate directly to the Foundation or look at other ways to help support our work.