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Speaking their language; in association with fish4jobs Careers in communication support If you are interested in helping deaf students then a career in communication support may appeal. Michelle Rushton learns that actions can speak louder than words...

Byline: Michelle Rushton

What does a career in communication support involve?

Communication support workers (CSWs) work in schools and colleges helping deaf students to communicate with their teachers or tutors and other students on the course. They use methods such as interpreting between spoken English and British Sign Language (BSL), and lipspeaking.

Working alongside other professionals, such as teachers and interpreters, communication support workers provide support for students by helping them understand and produce written material, adapting the language of learning materials so that students understand them more easily, taking notes in class and suggesting ways that the school or college environment can be improved to make it easier for students to use hearing aids or lipread.

What personal skills do you need?

You need to have excellent communication skills in spoken and written English BSL, as well as being computer literate. You must work effectively with learners, tutors, lecturers and other professionals and be willing to carry out research. It is important that you are aware of and understand deaf culture and educational issues.

What training do you need?

You can gain the Edexcel Professional Development Award in Communication Support Work with Deaf Learners which you can study over one year, part-time.

To get onto this course, it helps if you have the CACDP Stage 2 Certificate in British Sign Language and relevant experience of working with deaf people.

The CACDP, the National Association for the Tertiary Education of Deaf People (NATED) and the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf (BATOD) are proposing to replace the Professional Development Award with a two-part qualification consisting of an Edexcel qualification in Educational Support Work with Deaf Learners in schools or further education and a CACDP qualification in Facilitating Communication. The CACDP has developed Level 3 Certificates in Facilitating Communication with Deaf People, covering lipspeaking and notetaking Skills.

Once you start work you will usually be expected to upgrade your British Sign Language qualifications to NVQ level 3 and beyond, and improve your sign language interpreting skills.

What are the opportunities for career advancement?

You could move into management positions within sensory impairment or disability services, progress to become a sign language interpreter or become a teacher of the deaf.

What is the salary?

(Rough guideline). Communication support workers can earn between around pounds 14,000 and pounds 22,000 a year.

More information

Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People (CACDP) www.cacdp.org.uk

Learndirect www.learndirect-advice.co.uk

Please note that organisations mentioned here are not advertising vacancies. Contact details are provided for information purposes only.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 14, 2007
Words:430
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