A Scots college is advertising a deaf awareness event… on the radio.
Kilmarnock College in Ayrshire has booked a series of ads on Westsound/West FM to publicise an evening of Christmas Carols aimed at encouraging people to learn sign language.
“I know it sounds strange, but we are aiming to target businesses and public sector organisations to encourage them to send their staff to our British Sign Language courses, and we believe radio is a great vehicle for that message,” said Louise Conway, marketing co-ordinator at the college.
The event, on December 12, will feature information sessions and a Christmas carol concert, with accompanying signing.
Head of the project, Linda van Heerden, explained: “BSL is a recognised language in its own right and is the first language of people who are profoundly deaf. It is a language of space and movement, using the hands, body and head.
“When businesses or local organisations sign up their staff for our BSL courses they are immediately improving communication with the deaf community and ultimately encouraging them to shop or visit that particular business.”
Companies already using Kilmarnock College classes to train their staff include Morrisons, North Ayrshire Leisure Clubs and Prestwick Airport. East Ayrshire Council has 60 staff booked to start courses in January.
Student Ruth Duncan runs a hairdressing salon in Irvine. She said: “I had one deaf customer and decided to learn some BSL for her. Now I have four who are regular customers and I am now on the CACDP Level 2 Course. It is a skill I love and the barrier of communication has been well and truly broken. It’s so very worthwhile, both personally and from a business point of view.
“Kilmarnock College has provided us with a notice to inform the public of the fact we can sign for the deaf. This has also attracted hearing clientele because they see us as a business that really cares for its customers.”
The college currently runs a number of classes at varying levels, starting in January. They vary from taster classes, with vocabulary modified for individual clients, to SQA Modules and CACDP Levels 1 and 2.
Classes are available daily and in the evenings, depending on demand.
The college currently has more than 200 students learning BSL and is committed to helping improve the communication skills for both private and public sector workers who will inevitably come in contact with some of the nine million registered deaf people in the UK. Kilmarnock College has an established reputation for success rates for BSL well above the national average.
For further information on classes, contact Marcie Stuart on 01563 523501 Ext 4117.
Issued on behalf of Kilmarnock College by Alistair Nicol PR & Design, 26 Wellington Square, Ayr KA7 1HH. Tel. 01292 287492. Mobile 07810673994. www.nicolmedia.co.uk