back to listings SME Profile: RNID

Employment, Training & Skills Service
5 Adair Street
M1 2NQ

Tel: 0161 276 2312
Textphone: 0161 276 2316
Fax: 0161 274 3606


Is your organisation:

  • accessible to over 1 in 7 of the population, (equivalent to over 9 million people) in the UK?  Many of these are elderly, a significant proportion of these rely, increasingly, on Local Authority services
  • one of the public services that 70% of deaf and hard of hearing people finds difficult to access?
  • meeting all its requirements under the Disability Discrimination Act  and the Disability Equality Duty?

Helping to make your Organisation more accessible
RNID is passionate about improving accessibility for the U.K.’s 9 million deaf and hard of hearing people.  An important part of our service is to encourage organisations to become more accessible for deaf and hard of hearing people.  We do this by offering training to public and private sector organisations in deaf awareness, British Sign Language and the use of textphones.

We recommend all frontline staff, or anyone working in human resources, have some form of awareness and/or equality training. Even better – we can train staff, so they respond positively to all your deaf/hard of hearing customers and staff.

Deaf Awareness Training
This course covers general issues around deafness, with a focus on the barriers and solutions in communicating with deaf and hard of hearing people.  Following completion of the course, delegates will:

  • have an increased awareness of the Disability Discrimination Act
  • be able to identify barriers (physical and sensory) that can prevent a deaf or hard of hearing person from accessing your organisation
  • have an understanding of the most appropriate communication techniques available
  • be able to identify solutions to make deaf and hard of hearing people feel more at ease
  • have  increased confidence interacting with deaf and hard of hearing people

The training can be delivered at your own premises (or any venue of your choice). All of our trainers are deaf and are often accompanied by British Sign Language interpreters.  This makes a tremendous impact on the audience because they get to experience first-hand some of the issues faced by deaf and hard of hearing people.

Each delegate receives an RNID information pack, which includes fact sheets, finger spelling cards and after the training has been completed a certificate of attendance.

If budgets or numbers are limited, we hold regular Training Access Points (TAPs) at our local offices throughout the country.  For details of forthcoming TAPs events please contact us.

Deaf and Disability Awareness:

These courses focus on the issues faced by deaf, hard of hearing and disabled people. At the end of this course your staff will:

  • understand the difference between the social and medical models of disability
  • identify issues and suggest solutions to prevent discrimination against disabled people
  • interact more confidently and appropriately with deaf and disabled people
  • understand and demonstrate positive methods of communicating with deaf and hard of hearing people
  • demonstrate how to offer an equal service to all disabled people.

Start to Sign:
Our Start to Sign course is an excellent, introductory course to using BSL (British Sign Language).

This course aims to improve communication between deaf customers/staff and hearing staff.  The course is taught by trainers who are deaf and experienced BSL users.
By the end of the course attendees will be able to:

  • understand the structure of BSL
  • use basic everyday signs
  • hold a basic dialogue in BSL without relying on writing or an interpreter
  • be able to produce and understand the BSL alphabet. 

The course can be tailored to meet the requirements of your particular service; for example, if specific words or phrases are required, simply notify us at the time of booking and we will include these in the training.

Depending upon the depth of training required, 1, 2 & 3 day courses are available, providing a perfect appetizer to the Level 1 BSL course.
Numbers on the Start to Sign courses are limited to a maximum of 12.

Testimonials about our training courses:

“Shock at first, when I realised trainer was deaf… this added to the
enjoyment of the day & helped with my knowledge & understanding”

“a great insight into communication barriers and how to overcome them”

“I now know what to do if a deaf person approaches me”

“Really dynamic.  Superb.  Excellent trainer, who made training a pleasure”



Louder than Words
Louder than Words is our charter mark for best practice, and is awarded to companies who clearly demonstrate their commitment to equality for deaf and hard of hearing people. If you are awarded the charter, you are effectively opening your doors to the nine million deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK, who may have previously found it difficult to access your organisation. It also shows your commitment to equality for your deaf and hard of hearing employees.

We have already helped many organisations become more accessible to deaf and hard of hearing people, so we understand that sometimes, just knowing where to start can seem incredibly daunting.  To find out how easy it is to make your organisation more accessible to your deaf and hard of hearing customers simply contact us or visit our website.

Case Study:
Hunter Family Practice, Northern Ireland

The Hunter Family Practice is a busy general practice that provides primary health care.  The Practice offer a varied range of medical services including clinics for asthma, diabetes, weight management, minor surgery, maternity care, travel advice and vaccinations.  The Practice Team benchmarked their current service and identified a need to improve accessibility for their deaf and hard of hearing patients.

With over 250,000 deaf and hard of hearing people in Northern Ireland, a figure that is set to rise as the population ages, Hunter Family Practice identified these patients as a priority to offer improved accessibility.

Needing specialist advice, our Employment Training and Skills Service Team was contacted to arrange Deaf Awareness Training for all staff.  Following our training the Practice Management Team were keen to learn more about the Louder than Words Charter Mark.  Our Louder than Words Co-ordinator, visited the Practice and produced a benchmarking report that identified any changes needed to make the practice deaf friendly and improve accessibility.   

Our report made a number of suggestions including the delivery of Start to Sign training for all staff.  The impact of the training had a profound effect on two members of staff, who have since volunteered to study the BSL Level One course.  Such is their enthusiasm, they spend 40 minutes every lunchtime practising together.  Reception and admin staff also undertook Typetalk/Textphone training.

Hunter Family Practice implemented all the changes recommended, many at negligible cost because they involved simple changes to procedures and policies. For example, a deaf/hard of hearing register was compiled, with computerised flagging of patient records to alert staff if a patient is deaf or hard of hearing.

Was the Louder than Words charter worth implementing for the Hunter Family Practice?

Lorraine Hughes, Practice Manager comments:

“The Deaf Awareness Training made us all more aware of the numerous problems faced by deaf people in everyday life. The whole process was very rewarding. All staff agreed that it has been one of the most worthwhile projects we have taken on.  Working towards the achievement of Louder than Words brought us together as a team and improved staff morale.”

Deaf and hard of hearing patients have been delighted with the changes that Hunter Family Practice have made, particularly the positive and welcoming attitude of all the staff.  Patients are now able to order repeat prescriptions over the telephone using our Typetalk service.

One deaf patient commented:

“The Doctor signed, I felt brilliant and pleased…I am proud of this service, please keep it up.”

To ensure it remains accessible Hunter Family Practice has planned update sessions into its staff training schedule.

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