Sign-Language

Scottish opticians sign for success

Staff from Specsavers stores across Scotland have joined forces to learn sign language so they can communicate more effectively with hearing impaired customers.

A group of 15 Specsavers employees are set to build their knowledge of the impact of living with a hearing defect, while improving communication skills with customers who experience difficulties with their hearing or complete deafness in store.

They enrolled on an official Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) ‘Introduction to Sign Language’ and have received a full accreditation after completing the 12-week course.

Supported by Glasgow Clyde College and funded via the Scottish Apprenticeship Levy, the group of Specsavers volunteers expressed a keen interest in learning sign language as part of their day-to-day roles in store.

The ten stores which are due to receive the certificate in British Sign Language includes Specsavers in East Kilbride, Greenock, Hamilton, Kirkintilloch, Lanark, Motherwell, Newlands, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow Fort and Glasgow Trongate.

Kyle Bettley, senior lecturer at Glasgow Clyde College, specialises in British Sign Language and is currently rolling out the course to Specsavers staff.

He says: ‘I’ve been blown away with the enthusiasm of the Specsavers staff and how quickly they’re developing their signing skills.

‘The course is a great opportunity to increase deaf awareness in partnership with a company that is proactively seeking to enable people living with hearing difficulties, and help them to have a positive experience in its stores.

‘Working with the team has been an absolute pleasure and I look forward to watching them all graduate upon completion of the course.’

Currently in their fourth week of learning, the team is making great progress and look forward to transferring their skills into stores.

Arlene Stephenson, store director at Specsavers in Glasgow Fort, says: ‘We are delighted so many staff members have decided to take part in the course.

‘The commitment from staff has been overwhelming and we are looking forward to rolling the sign language skills out in store.’

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