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Signature Aim to Make Apprenticeships Accessible for Deaf People

Added 16 May 2013

Signature

Deaf accessible apprenticeships are the way forward according to Signature's response to a government consultation.

We have recently submitted a response to the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) consultation on The Future of Apprenticeships in England.

The consultation was a call for ideas on how apprenticeships can be reformed to meet the UK's future skills needs. Signature feel that making apprenticeships accessible for deaf people has an important role to play in improving our nation's skills base and competitiveness.

Our response to the consultation highlights the barriers Deaf people face in accessing apprenticeships. For instance, a lot of apprenticeship information is not available in British Sign Language (BSL) and does not have a plain English guarantee. This makes it difficult for deaf people to access vital information about skilled occupations because it is not available in their first language and many deaf people have only a basic grasp, if any, of English.

Employers fear of incurring excessive costs also acts as a psychological disincentive to employing deaf and hard of hearing apprentices, Signature's response to the consultation makes a number of recommendations to break down these access barriers.

The response recommends that:

  • Apprenticeship information should be translated into BSL
  • Apprenticeship information must have a plain English guarantee
  • The Access to Work scheme should be used by employers to make the work places accessible for deaf apprentices and provide a deaf awareness training scheme.

We believe that deaf and hard of hearing people have a wealth of potential and making apprenticeships accessible is an excellent way to realise this.

For further information please contact Andrew Hair Signature's Policy Advisor on andrew.hair@signature.org.uk or 0191 383 7902.