John Walker announced as new Signature Chair

Signature are delighted to announce that John Walker is to become our new Chair from March.

John has been on the Signature Board of Trustees for the last 7 years and Vice-Chair for the last 6 years.

John is a Lecturer at University of Sussex and is convening an undergraduate programme in British Sign Language and Deaf culture as an elective pathway or minor. He also recently submitted his doctoral thesis in human geography, which includes mapping how deaf people perform cultural capital within Deaf spaces.

John started his career as a chemist before switching to training and development of future deaf leaders for FYD, a charity for deaf young people. He then set up Chereme Ltd., a deaf and sign language centric solutions to human resource issues as well as developing bespoke training packages for different clients. In 2006, he was invited to work at Centre for Continuing Education at the University of Sussex delivering programmes and EU projects. After completing his PG Dip study in BSL linguistics and interpreting at the University of Durham, he was the first deaf trustee of the Association of Sign Language Interpreters, where he served as Treasurer for 4 years. At Sussex Centre for Language Studies, John has received education awards in 2017 and 2019, and was the first academic lead on disability in 2021 for the university as a whole.

Lindsay Foster, Executive Director at Signature said “I am thrilled that John Walker has agreed to become our new Chair. John has been influential on our board since 2015 and has been fantastic in supporting Paul as Vice Chair during his time.

I look forward to the challenges that we are going to face, and we are confident that with John as our Chair we will continue to develop as an Awarding Organisation and charity. With John’s drive, passion and hard work in Deaf communication we know we have the right person to guide us as we move past COVID.”

John Walker said “the landscape of teaching and learning has changed during this period of restrictions and Signature has adapted to offer different approaches to assessment; this has provided an opportunity to offer our qualification portfolio to a wider audience. My benchmark is my own experience of when I was an isolated deaf child in a mainstream school, and whether the current portfolio would now enable deaf children and deaf people to have access to clear communication, to British Sign Language, and to language/communication professionals. Signature will need to respond to upcoming challenges including the GCSE in BSL, ensuring there is an availability of teachers, and a qualification portfolio that meets the needs of deaf people in a more complex society.”

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