Pioneering training course for Deaf managers

From left: Professor Graham Turner, Director of Research, SML; Lilian Lawson, Director of the Scottish Council on Deafness; Professor Steve Chapman, Principal of Heriot-Watt University; Tessa Padden, BSL Fellow and event organiser.

More than 70 delegates recently attended a unique training course entitled 'Deaf Managers: Facing the Challenge' organised and hosted by Heriot-Watt University.

Deaf Managers: Facing the Challenge

We're renowned for our expertise in Deaf studies and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting delegates

Professor Steve Chapman, Heriot-Watt University Principal

Bringing together the expertise of our School of Management & Languages (SML) in the fields of sign language and business management the Deaf managers training course, the first of its kind, saw experts from both fields in the UK and abroad address the crucial questions of how Deaf people who use British Sign Language (BSL)  or another sign language can progress as successful managers and how managers, whether Deaf or hearing, can manage Deaf staff successfully and equip Deaf people to succeed in management.

Aimed at Deaf managers, aspiring Deaf managers and those who manage Deaf staff, the two-day training course focused on providing practical skills to equip attendees with tools and techniques for understanding how to tackle problems and overcome barriers in their own careers and places of work. The course also gave an opportunity to meet and network with trainers, teachers and other managers, both Deaf and hearing, as well as discuss current issues for the Deaf community in the workplace such as "the glass ceiling," limiting the career progression of the Deaf Community, and communication skills in a bilingual and bicultural workplace.

Tessa Padden, organiser of the event, said: 'The response from the Deaf community to our training course has been amazing with delegates travelling from not only European countries such as Finland but also countries such as Israel, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon in order to attend.'

The response from the Deaf community to our training course has been amazing

Tessa Padden, BSL Fellow and event organiser

Heriot-Watt University Principal, Professor Steve Chapman, commented 'It has been terrific to see the Deaf and hearing community coming together here at Heriot-Watt to better understand how they can overcome challenges faced in the workplace and be successful in their chosen fields. We're renowned for our expertise in Deaf studies and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting delegates and understanding how they have benefited directly from this fantastic training course.'

BSL at the School of Management & Languages

The  School of Management & Languages has one of the best known and well-respected BSL research groups in UK universities.

The BSL team is responsible for the innovative  BSL: UPTAKE project, which has worked closely with the Scottish Council on Deafness, other Deaf organisations, members of the Scottish Government and Members of the Scottish Parliament to help push forward some of the exciting developments towards the recognition of BSL as an official language in Scotland.

In 2010 the BSL team won the prestigious Public Engagement Award from Edinburgh Beltane for their BSL Knowledge Exchange Cafe initiative, held in partnership with Deaf Action.