Newcastle College have partnered with North East law firm Gordon Brown Law Firm LLP to deliver a sign language training programme, in order for the firm to provide legal support to the region’s deaf and deafblind community.
Six staff at the law firm have already achieved a sign language qualification from the partnership which has led to Gordon Brown Law Firm LLP developing a four year in-house training programme.
Gordon Brown’s employees achieved the ‘Signature Level 1 Award in British Sign Language’ and have began an additional ‘Level 1 Award in Deaf Awareness and Communication’, to further enhance their understanding of the barriers faced by the deaf and deafblind community.
British Sign Language is the preferred language of approximately 70,000 deaf people in the UK, and the BSL Level I qualification teaches learners how to communicate using BSL on a range of topics.
Gordon Brown Law Firm LLP has also pledged its commitment to funding the next stage of the training at British Sign Language Level II.
HR Manager, Deb Tweedy, said: “The future success of a business relies on understanding stakeholders and their needs.
“As a firm we recognise the importance of being able to communicate at a level which can be adapted to meet the needs of people from all members of the community.”
“This is only the beginning in terms of our future strategy.
“We will be working closely with local charity, Percy Hedley Foundation, and their students to finely hone our employees’ recently learned skills, and to further strengthen relationships with the Trust.
“In addition to this we have committed to installing counter induction loops into both of our offices and we plan to adapt our website so that it is fully accessible for all users.”
Managing Partner, Kathryn Taylor, said: “I am impressed with the dedication of the employees who have completed the BSL Level I qualification.
“Their hard work has resulted in them acquiring new skills that will seriously benefit the local deaf and deafblind community.
“Gordon Brown Law Firm LLP is proud to be leading the North East towards greater legal accessibility for all.”