The Deaf Academy’s students are working with some of the UK’s most prestigious organisations to help their staff develop a deeper understanding of the Deaf community.

The young people, who attend the Exmouth-based Deaf Academy, are part of interactive Deaf Awareness sessions which are being delivered to staff at the Met Office, University of Exeter, National Trust, NHS and the Police.

All of the content is tailored for each organisation’s particular need, from explaining to the police how handcuffing a Deaf person takes away their ability to communicate, to medical terms used in the NHS’s breast screening clinic.

The sessions are being delivered as part of the Deaf Academy’s mission to help people to better understand the needs and capabilities of Deaf people, with an aim of achieving better integration amongst Deaf and hearing communities.

Mark Stocks, Partnership and Community Manager at the Deaf Academy, said: “Part of our Academy’s mission is to help the public to develop a greater understanding of the needs of the Deaf community. Sometimes people don’t communicate with a Deaf person, as they are afraid of getting that communication wrong, so through these sessions, we aim to reassure people and give them the tools they need to take away that fear.

“It’s been important for us to involve our students, balanced of course with their studies, as another of our aims is to provide our young people with opportunities to be involved and be part of the wider community. The sessions will also help to promote independence and build their confidence.”

Mark added: “Our wider charitable ambitions have always been to go beyond being a provider of outstanding quality education, care and support for Deaf young people. We aim to support the wider business community and general public in their understanding of the culture and language of the Deaf Community through this type of Deaf Awareness training.“

Hugh, 24, who is a student at the Academy said: “I think it’s important to teach Deaf Awareness to hearing people in order to help them understand Deaf culture and to improve communication between the hearing and Deaf communities.”

 Timothy, 19, also studies at the Academy and is chair of the Academy’s Student Council. He and his fellow students campaign to raise Deaf Awareness, through the Academy’s partnerships with regional and national organisations.

 He said: “This is important as the Deaf community needs to feel included in a hearing world. It helps ensure the two communities are more integrated.”

 Susan Ward-Rice, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Specialist Partner at the Met Office said: “We are continuously striving to be as inclusive as possible with everyone we engage with, whether that be through our recruitment or the content we produce. We are excited to be working with students from the Deaf Academy and our recent deaf awareness session was engaging, educational and informative.

 “We are thrilled to welcome students during British Sign Language Week to help make our communications even more accessible and inclusive to members of the D/deaf community.”

 The Deaf Academy also offers training to any organisation’s staff when they are considering taking its young Deaf adults on for a work placement, to help break down the barriers in the workplace.