Unique bi-lingual interactive Deaf awareness training has been launched by the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS).

Referred to as the learner voice, it has been developed to be a powerful and authentic way for practitioners to gain an insight into what good teaching and learning is about.

This training led by Deaf learners, and facilitated by interpreters, provides an opportunity for participants to understand the challenges and barriers faced by Deaf learners in the FE and skills sector.

With funding from the Skills Funding Agency, LSIS is working with a group of eight Deaf learners from further and higher education to develop this training.

LSIS began developing the training in July 2010 and it is now available to other organisations.

The Deaf awareness training aims to help hearing managers and practitioners in the FE and skills sector build a better awareness of Deaf culture, the legal rights of Deaf learners, an understanding of deafness as a hidden disability, and to show British Sign Language (BSL) is a language in its own right.

The Deaf awareness training has already been delivered to the Office of Disability Issues (ODI), the Department of Business, Skills, the Skills Funding Agency, LSIS and OFSTED; the pilot training received a100 per cent satisfaction rating from participants.

LSIS’s programme development manager for quality and equalities, Kathryn James said: “So far the training has gone really well and participants have commented that having the training delivered by young Deaf people have really helped them understand the issues being discussed.

“It gives participants the opportunity to practice their communication skills in a non-threatening environment and to hear and witness the richness and complexity of British Sign Language (BSL) from proud and confident Deaf learners.

“We believe that organisations such as colleges, training providers and employers will benefit from the awareness training.

“Individuals who undergo the awareness training will be able to support their organisation, meeting their public sector equality duty under the Equality Act 2010, s.149.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the awareness training should contact Daniel Nunu, programme support officer, quality and equalities at LSIS.

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