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National Library of Scotland staff benefit from BSL training thanks to Edinburgh College

Posted: 30th September 2020

Over the summer, delegates from the National Library of Scotland have furthered their professional development with help from Edinburgh College as part of its Professional Training Virtual offering.

Throughout July and August, eight members of staff from the Edinburgh-based library received virtual British Sign Language (BSL) training which was delivered by Edinburgh College lecturer Alan Sanders via video conferencing software Zoom.

The training, which was facilitated through the Flexible Workforce Development Fund, was delivered over a period of four weeks and provided participants with the knowledge and practical skills required to communicate using BSL.

Delegates learned how to use fingerspelling to describe names of people and places; greet other people; produce numbers to describe time, money, and dates; describe weather conditions and different modes of transport; ask and give directions; and how to give specific signs tailored to their work-based setting within the library.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations across all sectors have had to be flexible in their approach to client care. That narrative has been no different for Edinburgh College’s Training and Development team which has developed a new suite of Virtual Professional Training to support its business clients.

The team delivers high-quality, bespoke training packages to firms across the UK, supporting them to reskill and upskill their people, ensuring employees have the tools they need to continue developing in their role.

Jamie McIntosh, Special Collections Assistant, said:I can’t recommend this course highly enough, I really enjoyed it.

“It was useful not only for learning basic sign language but for understanding the challenges faced by deaf and hard of hearing people when trying to navigate the world.

“Alan gave us a real insight into how we can help and brought a whole new perspective to the subject. We learned a lot of signs through context by the medium of Alan’s many stories, which made me realise there is a lot of ways we can communicate with people which isn’t only through voice.”

Malcolm Anderson, Special Collections Assistant, said: “My experience working with the Edinburgh College Training and Development team was a very good one. Classes were organised well and remote access to the Zoom and Moodle, the College’s Virtual Learning Environment, went off without any problems.

“I think in terms of adapting, being able to provide a high-quality class via video chat is a good example of positive adaptation which I have certainly benefited from.

“I would indeed recommend the course that I have participated in to others, and have on several occasions.”

Edinburgh College Community-based ESOL (English for Speaker of Other Languages) and Modern Languages lecturer Alan Sanders said: “Delivering BSL to delegates through Zoom has been a challenging but very rewarding experience.

“The subject matter is very visual and interactive, so it has been fantastic to continue the high level of interactivity with learners thanks to the brilliant online platforms we have utilised.

“The cohort grew in confidence with each session and seeing them sign conversations with each other while in the call was fantastic.”

The Flexible Workforce Development Fund provides eligible employers with up to £15,000-worth of training from their local college to upskill and reskill their existing workforce.

For more information about the Flexible Workforce Development Fund please visit this webpage.

For more information about Edinburgh College’s suite of Professional Virtual Training, click here.

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Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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