UCLan workshop (Preston, UK)

Above: a visual impression of the UCLan workshop at Preston, UK, 14-18 May 2018. 

The Trainers

Ramon Woolfe and Clark Denmark were the trainers at our workshop. Both are very well known across the UK, are experienced teachers, and have set up their own businesses. In Ramon’s case: several businesses. Both are highly motivated to support Deaf sign language users and to help them on their way to becoming successful entrepreneurs.

After the workshop, we asked the trainers:

  • Is it important to have 2 trainers? Both say yes.
  • Is it important that both trainers are BSL users? Both say this is very important.
  • Is it important that the trainers are business owners: both agree that at least one of the trainers should have experience in the business field.
  • Do the trainers need specific training? This depends on the background and experience of the trainers.

The Venue

In our case, the selection of the venue for the workshop was easy. We used rooms of the Department of Deaf Studies at the University of UCLan in Preston. We had access to one large room, a corridor for coffee-breaks, several break-out rooms and several computers with wifi access.

Registration

We posted a signed invitation (Click here to see the invitation) on our website and Facebook page. Most participants, however, found us through person-to-person contacts. Since this takes up time, it is important to advertise the workshop early. Even though we did this, most of our participants registered just before, or even after the deadline for registration.

For the registration, we used an online form. One of the questions asked the participants about their motivation: “What do you want to learn in this workshop”. We used this information for a first selection of participants.

We communicated with everyone by email or Facetime. Since participants came from all over the UK, we helped them find accommodation. All participants stayed at the same hotel, during the workshop, which made it easier for them to organize ‘extracurricular’ activities together.

Registration took up much more time than we had envisaged, over a period of 8 weeks.

The Participants

We had decided on a maximum number of participants of 12 persons for our workshop. Our final selection was a list of 13 participants. At the last minute, 1 of them dropped out for personal reasons, so that we had 12 participants.

During the evaluation, we asked the trainers about the size of the group. Their advice: a minimum number of  8, a maximum number of 12.

The participants at our workshop varied in age from 28 to 53.
T
here were 9 women and 3 men. They came from all across the UK and varied in background, experience and motivation.

During the workshop, the many differences between the participants did not cause any problems. For day 1, the trainers had decided to start with an activity that asked the participants to talk about their background and their personal skills and expectations (Personal Objectives for this Workshop, see below). Later on day 1, they had included a 'team building activity': Paperclip chain (see below).  These activities helped

  • to break down barriers;
  • encouraged participants to use their own strengths and expertise during later activities, and
  • supported them to value and benefit from the input of other participants.

Videosmall The Programme

On the basis of the wishes and expectations of the participants, the trainers used the Deaf Enterprise curriculum to develop the programme for a 5-day workshop. During the workshop, several changes were made to the programme, mostly because activities took more time than planned.

We started on a Monday, ended on Friday. Days started at 9:00 o'clock. Participants had lunch together, days ended around 17:00. Day 5 (Friday) was a half day to enable participants to travel home for the weekend. Because most participants stayed at the same hotel they usually had dinner together, sometimes with one or both trainers. 

The programme of the 5-day workshop in Preston: 

Click on the Videosmall button to see videoclips of trainers and participants of the UCLan workshop. BSL used in all videos.

Day 1

Day 1 9.00am – 12.30pm:

Welcome and Introduction, by Dr. Luigi Lerose Videosmall

Personal Objectives Videosmall 

Personal Skills and Attributes  Videosmall

Working as a Team: Why do Geese Fly in V formation?  Videosmall

What is a Business Plan? Videosmall 

12.30pm – 1.30pm: Lunch

1.30pm – 5pm:

Creating a Business Plan  Videosmall 

A Team Challenge: Paperclip Chain Videosmall

Writing and Presenting a Business Plan  Videosmall

Deaf Gain Videosmall

Role Models 1 – Ramon Woolfe, Director of Drip Media, an accessible communications company specialising in British Sign Language (BSL)

This presentation is by one of the trainers, Ramon Woolfe, discussing how he set up his businesses; in particular Drip Media following on from his success with the company Remark!
Use of website to show a) web development and b) the scope of his business.

Daily Feedback Session

Day 2

Day 2   9.00am – 12.00pm:

Role Model 2Clark Denmark Consultancy

This Presentation is by one of the trainers, Clark Denmark, who discusses how he set up his business, which is relatively new. He discusses his motivation for setting up his business and the issues and challenges he faced.
See: https://www.deafenterprise.eu/index.php/interviews/interviews-uk  on this website.

The Business Model Canvas  Videosmall

12.00pm – 1.00pm: Lunch

1.00pm – 5pm:          

Managing and Preventing Risks Videosmall

Daily Feedback Session

Day 3

Day 3  9.00am – 12.30pm:

Presentation Skills Videosmall

Marketing Communications Strategy Videosmall

12.30pm – 1.30pm: Lunch

1.30pm – 5pm:              

Knowing Yourself  Videosmall   

Who Moved My Cheese? Videosmall

Role Model 3 – Joel Kellhofer, Director of SignLive, online video interpreting services

Joel Koeffler discusses how he set up his businesses; in particular Sign Live – a relatively new service provider of online video interpreting services through its Video Relay Service (VRS) and Video Remote Interpreting (VRI)

Daily Feedback Session

Day 4

Day 4:  9.00am – 12.30pm:

Communication Strategy Videosmall

Networking Videosmall

Role Model 4 – Ray William, Subway Franchises

This presentation is by Ray William, owner of 9 Subway franchises, discussing how he set up his business.

12.30pm – 1.30pm: Lunch

1.30pm – 5pm:

vlcsnap 2018 07 12 12h59m03s257

Branding  Videosmall

Legal Issues and Employability Rights Videosmall

Participant Presentation: Deaf Services in Lancashire Videosmall

Daily Feedback Session

Day 5

Day 5   9.00am – 12.30pm:              

Employability and Anti-Discrimination Legislation Videosmall

Budgeting & Setting up a Business Account  Videosmall  and Videosmall

Reading and Writing a Contract

Ethics in the Workplace

12.30pm – 1.30pm: Lunch

1.30pm – 3pm:                

Presentation 5 – Craig Lawrence, Uclan's Enterprise Unit, 'Propellor'. 

Craig Lawrence discussed the concept, definition and legal requirements of being self-employed. He explained tax rules, UTR (unique tax reference) numbers and where to get one from. He also discussed self-assessment practicalities – and how to pay tax.

Afterwards, he answered the questions of the participants.

Certificate

Evaluation, Thank You & Farewell  Videosmall

Invited Speakers

We had presentations by 4 deaf business owner:

  • Day 1: Ramon Woolfe, Director of Drip Media, an accessible communications company specialising in British Sign Language (BSL)
  • Day 2: Clark Denmark, of Clark Denmark consultancy
  • Day 3: Joel Kellhofer, Director of SignLive, online video interpreting services
  • Day 4: Ray William, owner of 9 Subway franchises
  • Day 5: On Day 5, the guest presenter was a hearing business consultant, Craig Lawrence, from Uclan's Enterprise Unit, 'Propellor". He was assisted by a sign language interpreter. In the evaluation, the participants appreciated the expertise of the hearing consultant but said that communication was more direct and more effective when presenters were deaf and used BSL.

Craig Lawrence

 

Excursions

We did not include any excursions in the programme.


Evaluation by the Participants

Daily Evaluations

At the end of each day, participants were asked to write down their comments on Post-it notes and to stick these on a flipchart.

Some of the comments:

  • New skills and really enjoyed the day; there is so much more to learn. Looking forward to it!
  • Interesting and Useful. All the information was very useful – some of it I never knew before. Big Thank You for your help today.
  • Deaf Gain. I didn’t know what this was before – but I love the concept. It is time we stopped looking at deafness as a negative.
  • What a challenge today – make a business canvas exercise with the group. Did really enjoy it!

  • Very interesting personal journeys – thank you for sharing the excellent experiences. Learning to take a risk – and set up a company was good. Making a detailed business plan in a small group was effective.

  • Joel’s presentation last night was excellent. We are able to use the knowledge/skills to analyse case studies. I clearly presented my case study about business. My presentation has improved after receiving useful feedback.

Personal Objectives

Personal Objectives  Videosmall

We had a session looking at personal objectives, which means thinking about what my aims and ambitions are. There was one specific part of today that I found extremely useful, which talked about teamwork by using the example of how geese fly in formation. How they rotate which bird is in the lead position and support each other. They do not fly alone but support each other during flight. They support each other both in very large formations and in small ones. That session was so useful and it helped me to realise that there are different levels such as a leader, or a supporter, or ***. I really liked that it helped me to reflect on who I am and what character traits I have. It was a very good topic.

What is a Business?

What is a Business?  Videosmall 

We had a session today called ‘What is a business.’ It was really interesting as I didn’t completely understand what a business was. We have had so much information given to us today that was so useful regarding the terminology in business, making contacts with other people. It was also useful for me to have time to share my experiences and thoughts with other Deaf people at the workshop. All of which has helped me to have a clear understanding of what a business is, which now enables me to think about whether it would be right for me to set up a business.

Creating a Business Plan

Creating a Business Plan Videosmall 

I have realised that creating a business plan is useful. I was not sure what I wanted to do in the future but what I have learnt from this workshop has been very useful. How important it is to make a plan, which helps you to think about the responsibilities, finances, and tax and VAT implications. It has been useful but because it is the first day, we have not had time to go into real depth so I am hoping over the next week we will look in detail at this area.

Writing and Presenting a Business Plan

Writing and Presenting a Business Plan  Videosmall  

We completed tasks in small groups, which was beneficial to see how other people work. In the first task, we worked with paper clips and colour. We split into two groups of four. Then we divided the task up into two pairs, two people doing the paper clips and the other two people giving the things. However, what was so interesting was the opinions of the others when we completed the tasks. We did not think anything of it whilst we doing the task but on reflection afterwards the others said that my skill was to be a calm organiser, another had leadership skills, another was an encourager and the fourth person generated many ideas. It made me realise what type of person I am and that was so interesting.

The second task we were set was to resurrect the BDA magazine. It was really thought provoking and I immediately had three core areas that we must achieve. Firstly marketing: looking at how we would sell the magazine, who would be our market, what would be the cost and would people buy it. Then we were given some feedback. In the feedback, we were reminded we needed to also consider where we would print the magazine it, whether we would require a loan or a donation to set up the magazine. It gave us so much to think about, it was really interesting.

Deaf Gain

Deaf Gain Videosmall 

I would like to talk about Deaf Gain. How Deaf gain is a positive concept not a negative one. Deaf gain is also, about how we can support each other through a network. I have found it useful to learn that Deaf gain is not just about benefiting Deaf people but benefiting other communities such as hearing people, disabled groups, people with learning difficulties and many more. For example for some people who find it hard to concentrate or cannot cope well in a noisy environment watching television with subtitles can help them. It can be positive and has helped me to know my identity better. I have really enjoyed learning more about it.

Drip Media

Ramon Woolfe: Drip Media  Videosmall

I would like to comment on Ramon Wolfe’s presentation about his experience of setting up his business, Drip media. His presentation was captivating and gave us a lot of information from his 20 years of experience from setting up the business to its growth over the years. It was also very moving when he spoke about the BSL march and how he bought a huge amount of VHS cassettes of the march day but then discovered that only two people bought a cassette from him. He had to take a risk and that is what he did. He also talked about learning through experience, for example about being in a partnership in business and the taking the decision to separate and go it alone in business and be successful. Then he showed his website, which was amazing. He gave an inspirational talk about his business experiences in the media. I also liked the way he gave us tips, advice and a sense of the real world of business. I very much appreciated the presentation.

Clark Denmark Consultancy

Clark Denmark Consultancy Videosmall

Clark Denmark’s presentation was really interesting for me. I want to know more about working as a freelancer and Clark had sent many years working for an employer but the left and became a freelancer. Clark had a feeling inside him that he wanted to leave the employment he was in and work for himself while he still had time to do so. So he left his employer and has been freelance for 5 years now. When Clark took retirement from his employer, he then set up as a freelancer. Clark has a very high profile in the Deaf community and most people know his name. Clark emphasised how important it was to promote yourself and now I know what I need to do after his presentation. It is key that I go out there and sell myself so that people know who I am.

Managing and Preventing Risks

Managing and Preventing Risks  Videosmall

I would like to talk about managing and preventing risks. I think this is very, very important that when setting up a business you are aware of what the risks are and you know how to be safe so not to damage your business model. I think it is so important that you are aware of all of the risks and then able to manage the risks better. Thank you.

Presentation Skills

Presentation Skills  Videosmall

Now I would like to talk about presentation skills. It was a really interesting topic that we explored by looking at the research and learning how to make a good presentation. Everyone on the course has their own character, it was good to see each person present, and then we were given feedback about what we did well and what we could improve upon. It was so useful and I learnt a lot from it. Thank you.

How to Make a Good Presentation

How to Make a Good Presentation  Videosmall

Today we learnt how to make a good presentation. What I thought it would be like and what it was really like when I tried it was a real eye-opener for me. I have always felt it easy to mix and talk to people but to actually sit down and write a good presentation has been something I haven’t been confident about. However, today has given us the opportunity to work as a group in how to give a presentation. For me, I have not been very good at asking for help but in this workshop, the trainers were so giving with their time and open to helping that it gave me the confidence to ask for help.

Then as a group, we were given time to prepare and present to each other. It was amazing seeing the difference in people who had been anxious developing into confident presenters, and others who had never presented to a group before being able to do it really well. In my experience of hearing workshops I have never been able to fully understand all the jargon nor have I felt able to participate fully in the group. This workshop was so different because it has given us the opportunity to develop so much self-confidence and I feel it has been so worthwhile to come to the workshop. Now I feel I am heading home where I can continue to make presentations and work by myself thanks to the confidence given to me today in this workshop. Thank you.

Overall Evaluation

On day 5, participants were asked to complete an evaluation form (click here). Some of the results were used in this report.

Participant 1  Videosmall Participant 2  Videosmall

 

Activities you liked best?

Participants were asked to write down what they considered to be the best activity in the workshop. Answers varied widely – proof of the diverse backgrounds and wishes of the participants.

Several participants mentioned the value of working with deaf trainers, role models and peers, and having all communication in BSL:

  • Both tutors – great to have all the information in BSL
  • Better understanding of how the system works – better with deaf tutors rather than hearing – because they have more empathy and know more about deaf networks
  • Deaf Business owners: Clear presentations and sharing of own experiences – so we can apply what we learned on the course (theory) to practice and real-world experiences.

Topics not addressed, or that need more depth?

All participants agreed that the workshop was a great start, but that much more is needed. It is impossible to teach such a diverse group all they need to know to set up a business, in a 5-day workshop. Asked specifically what topics they would have liked more information on, several mentioned financial and budgeting issues:

  • Insurance
  • Spreadsheets
  • More depth in finance/funding/VAT/Tax
  • Budgeting
  • How to source funding

 Follow-up activities that were suggested:

  • Mentorship
  • Deaf/sign language users’ enterprise network

Evaluation by the Trainers

The workshop: Was it effective? In your opinion: Was it relevant to the participants?

Ramon Woolfe  Videosmall

When the participants arrived, they were from all four corners of the UK. The group had a varied amount of experience regarding setting up a business. Some expressed how they had wanted to set up their own business but had found it difficult to navigate what they had to do and in communicating with hearing people.

Clark and I, as BSL native users, were able to give a detailed account of our experiences and explain the process of getting started. You could visibly see the engagement and learning in the eyes of the participants as each day, we went through our programme. It was enjoyable for me to see how much the participants were getting out of the workshop. By the end of the workshop, they all displayed a renewed confidence to be able to go home and act upon their aim of setting up their business idea.

Clark Denmark  Videosmall

The workshop was extremely worthwhile; especially when one considers there has been nothing of its type in the UK before. In the past Deaf people have had to travel many miles to find a course which is predominantly hearing people and hearing led. This has made participation and involvement very problematic for Deaf people who have said comments such as: “I didn’t understand what the trainer was saying.” Also, “I found it difficult to mix with others in the group.”

In contrast what the participants have said of our workshop is A “ we can understand directly from the trainers through sign language and B. we can mix in with the rest of the group.” So that tells us of the importance and efficacy of the course. The course also meets the learning needs of the participants and gives them a greater understanding using a more visual medium. To answer whether the workshop was right for all of the participants is a harder question.

Some came with very different expectations of the workshop. Also, some of the participants had already had experience of setting up a business and running a business for a long time whilst others had not and wanted to know how to set up a business and a guide in how to work for themselves. This wide range of experiences and expectation made our job very challenging in trying to satisfy all these divergent needs but I do feel the course was able to cover all of these groups within the week.

In the workshop, everyone used sign language. How important is this? For you as the trainer? For the participants?

Ramon Woolfe  Videosmall

Throughout the entire workshop, all the participants and the two trainers used Sign Language, to various degrees. The benefit being the participants did not need to invest time and energy reinterpreting what had been signed by an interpreter and was able to receive the instruction directly in Sign Language. This is important as at some events the interpreter may not be a competent interpreter and may use a sign language, which is less fluent than a native Sign language user and may not use the language correctly, therefore giving the work of translation to the participants of a course.

Also when a Deaf person is on a workshop primarily designed for hearing people if they wish to clarify a point they may be reticent to do so as the hearing audience may make them feel uncomfortable raising questions. This, in turn, can affect their participation and understanding of a course and can lead to a real lack of self-confidence.

Contrast that with a workshop similar to the one we have had where the communication is direct and the dynamic is fluent and fast-moving enabling a real discourse between trainer and participant. The level of quality engagement was so great that we often would not have enough time in the day to discuss all the points the participants wanted to discuss and would often spill over into our tea break or lunchtime to continue the discussions. All of which shows how great the need is by Sign language users to have this direct dialogue in their own language.

Clark Denmark  Videosmall

In the workshop, I think it was important that everyone used sign language. In other workshops led by hearing people, an interpreter will be used. This can affect the dynamics and learning outcomes for the Deaf participant as the interpreter may not completely understand the question. the trainer or other participants may not appreciate Deaf culture. In contrast to our workshop, the trainers and the participants all used sign language.

The group were all on the same wavelength and this meant there was very little misunderstandings. Using a hearing trainer and interpreters can be useful but also has many drawbacks that we didn’t have and that ultimately benefited the group.

At each workshop, we had two trainers: is this a good idea? Or can it be one trainer?

Ramon Woolfe  Videosmall

In our workshop, we had two trainers throughout the week. This was very useful in terms of if I was teaching a topic and may have missed a point then the other trainer was there to pick it up and act as an aide memoir. The second trainer was also a second pair of eyes to catch where people were at in terms of their learning and what we needed to do individually to support them.

Before starting the workshop having two trainers meant that we were able to work collaboratively in designing the best workshop for the participants and working as a team enabled a greater coverage of topics and perspectives. Working solely can sometimes mean that you can’t cover all the topics you wish to and a lack of feedback and perspective when designing the course and choosing the topics.

With two trainers, it also enables the second trainer to be able to work simultaneously with a participant to help them to understand a topic without stopping the whole group and slowing down the day. We also have specific areas of strength so can complement each other and we had a good chemistry which made the whole process so much better.

Clark Denmark  Videosmall

I believe that it needs two trainers. Firstly the length of the course itself, running from Monday to Friday all day was extremely demanding. One person would not have been able to keep up that level of energy for an entire week. Co-training enabled us to support each other, work as a team and to collaborate on our ideas and methods of teaching. I know one person could teach by giving the participants more tasks to work alone or in groups but it would still not be as effective. Also, it is desirable to bring in other people to teach as guests.

The trainers: must they be Deaf sign language users?

Ramon Woolfe  Videosmall

This workshop was led by two trainers who were Deaf. This is important as we have a complete empathy with the experiences and frustrations that the participants have gone through so are much more able to empathise and understand their experiences better than hearing people can. We can also see more nuanced looks, which indicate misunderstanding that a hearing trainer may not be aware.

It is completely natural that as Deaf people we have that stronger relationship with the participants. Bringing in hearing people is welcome but the leaders of the workshop ought to be Deaf. Where hearing people are brought in, it is important that they are fluent users of Sign language. Sometimes participants may not even know if a video we present is being delivered by a hearing or Deaf person and at times it is more important that what they see is clearly signed but there is always certain traits and indicators which can identify the person as a hearing person.

This is why it really ought to be Deaf people but we can select people with the right Sign language skills to deliver a topic, where appropriate. A trainer, as a prerequisite, must be able to communicate and engage with a Deaf audience otherwise the participants may feel disenfranchised and confused during the workshop.

Clark Denmark  Videosmall

I would not comment on whether or not the trainer needs to be Deaf but it is fundamental that they are proficient sign language users. It is useful having Deaf people in terms of being role models that show the participants that Deaf people can set up their own businesses for example: Ramon runs his own businesses and I have left employment to become self-employed and successfully working for myself.

Therefore, in terms of positive role models, having Deaf people as trainers is important in giving that self-belief that they too can achieve it. Therefore, without Deaf role models being here it would be difficult for many Deaf participants to imagine and believe in what they could achieve. Also bringing in guests who are both Deaf and hearing will reinforce the belief that Deaf people can achieve entrepreneurship too.

The trainers: Do they need special training? Must they be experienced trainers/teachers? Must they be entrepreneurs themselves?

Ramon Woolfe  Videosmall

The trainers need to have been trained in how to teach a workshop effectively and must have had experience themselves which they can call upon and been through the process of setting up a business. I have had those experiences and have set up businesses. Bringing in someone who may be a good teacher is not enough, as they will not have the experiences of entrepreneurship to be able to use real-life examples in the teaching of the workshops.

I have 20 years of experiences as an entrepreneur that I can easily call upon during the week to give examples of certain situations and concepts. In fact, I could continue to use my experiences many times over during future workshops with all the experience I have accrued.

Clark Denmark  Videosmall

I do not think the trainers need special training. For example, I myself have been a lecturer for many years so I am naturally able to teach. I can take a subject and construct a way to teach and assess that subject to a group of participants.

Ramon is primarily an entrepreneur but he also intuitively knows how to teach. So we complemented each other well, with Ramon’s business background and my teaching background. If we had both come from the same professional background such as teaching, that would not have been as effective as having two trainers with different backgrounds, and perspectives which benefited the participants. But as I say, I don’t believe that it necessitates specialist training to run the workshop.

The participants: what is the best number of participants, in your opinion? Is there a minimum number? A maximum number?

Ramon Woolfe  Videosmall

Having a workshop with too few people can be compromising as it then becomes increasingly intense towards a couple of individuals. Conversely, having too many can lea the trainer to be spread too thinly trying to cover competing needs. So, in my opinion, the optimum number is 12. Firstly you can easily split the group into two groups of 6, then can half that again to groups of 3, also divides into groups of 4.

So 12 is the magic number even enabling pairs to work too. It is also a good number for group dynamics and being able to watch where people are up to in their learning and enables the trainer to iron out any issues that may come up between the participants.

Clark Denmark  Videosmall

I believe that the optimum number for the workshop is 12. 12 is a number, which easily divides into small groups of 4, or three and even pairs without leaving anybody alone. Having less than 12 can create difficulties when sub-dividing the groups. When looking at the parameters of whether there ought to be a maximum and a minimum number of participants, as a maximum I would say 12 but as a minimum, I would suggest no less than 8. I say not less than 8 because participants would lose the opportunity to learn from each other. So ideally a group between 12 and 8 people.

The participants: the groups were mixed in age, in interests, in background. Is that OK, or is it better to have groups that are more similar?

Ramon Woolfe  Videosmall

In our workshop all the participants were different. In fact, not two people were the same. The only similarity they all shared was that they were Deaf and Sign language users. Some came from Deaf families, others from hearing families. Some had business experiences others none. All coming with different ideas.

It was so good to see how tentative people were at the start of the week but by the end, people had made real connections and worked like one big family. They all committed to keeping in contact with each other when they left the workshop and returned to their home regions. Also before starting the course, we had brief resumes on the participants and if I could not quite get a picture of someone, I could see if they had a Facebook profile, some did and some did not. I would not make contact or engage with them prior to the workshop, just look at who they were before meeting them on the first day of the workshop.

There was a good mixture of ages too. Overall, there was nothing different than I expected to find in the group.

Clark Denmark  Videosmall

I believe having a group with varied interests and backgrounds is good as it enables people to share their experiences with those who have little experience and there can be a rich exchange of perspectives and ideas, which benefits the whole group.

I think that age may be an important factor only in that if someone has never worked and has no experience of work whatsoever then that could be difficult. So participants need to have some experiences which they can work from when going through the workshop. For example, those older in age who are looking for a change in direction have the experiences built up that they can use.

Therefore, I do not believe everyone needs to be the same in the group and having a varied mix of people is healthy. Not to mention the Deaf community is a small community so attempting to find a group of people who are all at the same level would be extremely hard.

The workshop was 5 days: is that OK? Can it be shorter? Or should it be longer?

Ramon Woolfe  Videosmall

The workshop seemed to go over so quickly. Time really did fly. It felt like we were just starting and we were at the end of the week.  That does not mean I would suggest two or three weeks for a workshop as that’s not practical. Not practical in terms of cost, the commitment of time needed by everyone and for me to be off work for the small payment to the trainers, due to the limitations on the EU budget that was set for the trainers of the workshop.  However, what our workshop can act as is an initial taster, which then may lead to a participant looking around at a college or business school and going on one of their courses, which could be a 2 or 3-year course.

That said the workshop might be enough for some participants. We do need to be clear that a one-week workshop is not the same as completing a full business degree or similarly sized course that will cover a whole suite of topics and skills. The workshop is more dipping their toe into the water and gaining a feel for what business is like and using it as a springboard to then go on other courses in much greater depth.

Clark Denmark  Videosmall

The question of whether 5 days was enough and whether the course should be longer or shorter? You know yourself that 5 days is not long enough but we are bound by the budgetary restrictions of the project. We know that the most business courses are no less than 2 years so how can we achieve all that in 1 week!

Nevertheless, what we can do is to start to give people an idea of what can be done and may address some confusion the participants may have had. Also hopefully it will act as a springboard and motivate the participants to continue with their ambitions. I do hope that does happen especially as many of them have voiced their fears and concerns how they will engage and access local mainstream courses. This illustrates the need for bespoke sign language courses that are accessible to Deaf people.

However, this one week has been a good start and we have given our best with what time and funding we had available for the participants to take a lot from the week when they go home.

The curriculum: did you miss any activities? Any other information missing?

Ramon Woolfe  Videosmall

I feel that the curriculum addresses all the major topics within the 5 days. What it cannot do is go into any great depth in any of the topics. I think the curriculum is something, which can be shared around the EU. The question may arise how deeply it can be shared because I am not sure how much alignment may or may not exist in European countries as I was focusing only on the UK. However, the general headings of the topics can certainly be shared.

Clark Denmark  Videosmall

We did have things missing in the week but that is perfectly understandable given that we could not cover everything in one week. Due to the time limit, it meant we had to be selective in the curriculum as well as adding our own input into what we taught. So perhaps in the future, the curriculum may act as a template of what to teach but people will be able to choose what to take from it based on their own time and groups. The curriculum may, in fact, become more a ‘pick & mix’ document, which enables people to take from it what they need, and what suits them best.

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Ramon Woolfe  Videosmall

I’d like to say thank you for inviting me to be involved in this project. Looking back at what we have done I feel it’s been an enjoyable experience. It has been great to see the participants throughout the workshop develop. What I would wish for is that this workshop is replicated in different regions of the UK. However, there will be limitations of budget and with the future direction of the UK outside of the EU it leaves me with some concern.

There are plenty of opportunities for Deaf people to set up their own business not just in the traditional areas of teaching sign language and interpreting services but also in all areas of the economy from retail, to service industries such as restaurants, leisure such as a gym. I really would like to see more Deaf entrepreneurs showing that they can do it.

Clark Denmark  Videosmall 

I have no further comments to make about the project. I came with no expectations and have really enjoyed the experience, seeing how the participants grew throughout the workshop. A couple of participants had aid how they had attending accountancy courses in the past but had withdrawn as they could not understand it. Yet when we had a session on budgets and accounts, they got it immediately. It’s such a shame to think the time they had spent on other courses without any benefit. Another had said how they had been on so many courses before and never really felt the benefit but had gained so much understanding from this course. That humbled me but also indicated how valuable this workshop had been.

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