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Lindsay Foster: BSL National Plan in Scotland

Added 23 May 2017

A huge part of what Signature does is increasing the number of people who can use BSL in the UK. In the last 40 years we’ve helped 400,000 people communicate better because of our qualifications. With the National Plan for BSL happening in Scotland from this year, we hope to see Scotland fully commit to becoming ‘the best place in the world for people whose first or preferred language is BSL, to live, work and visit’ by significantly improving education, employment, healthcare and public services for BSL users in Scotland.

This plan, which is currently accepting feedback from the public, holds a phenomenal potential for changing the lives of deaf people in Scotland, especially through better deaf awareness across the country. With more pressure on employers and service providers to improve access for BSL users, we believe this should be the push they need to make a significant investment in better support for deaf employees and customers, including deaf awareness and BSL training for workers.

Educators and employers will face heavier responsibilities, and demands, to provide more options for learners who want to develop their deaf awareness and BSL skills. Teachers will be needed, more than ever to inspire, enable, and support their students to becoming better communicators. With employees demanding more workers have BSL skills, the number of students wanting to study BSL is going to increase. For deaf BSL users, there has never been a better time to start teaching.

We will always campaign and support positive change towards excellence in deaf communication. Once the National Plan is complete and implemented, we want to see Scotland as a shining example for other countries to follow.