“During the global COVID pandemic, from May to October 2020, whilst in the national lockdown, I completed the NCFE Level 2 in Employability Skills. The funding for this course came from the National Lottery, and was given to Communication Matters. Creativity in Practice delivered the Employability Skills training. Communication Matters is a UK-wide organisation that supports people of all ages, who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). Their mission is to help people who struggle to communicate – through education, events, training and lobbying.
My learning and training were completed on the computer. My tutor, Verity Elliott, sent me work sheets and coursework via email. I would complete this and then return it to my tutor for marking.
Verity and Communication Matters made it very accessible and inclusive for me. The funding received also allowed for a BSL interpreter to support me. I would not have been able to access the course without an interpreter. Because we could not meet in person, my interpreter met me on Zoom twice a week for a two-hour session. My interpreter was able to sign and interpret the work that my tutor had sent to me. My interpreter would also scribe for me, ensuring that my answers were captured and typed out on the computer, and then sent to my tutor. Meeting on Zoom worked really well. I was able to visually see my BSL interpreter, and we could share documents on the screen. I use a communication aid to communicate, as I have no verbal speech. I would type my answers out on my communication aid, and then play them aloud for my interpreter to listen to and then scribe for me. It was a smooth process, but it was also lots of hard work involved.
I think it was fantastic, because Communication Matters understand about the needs of AAC users. They gave me the time I required to process and digest the information, and didn’t rush me to complete. Verity also communicated with me and my interpreter regularly via email, which is my preferred method of communication. She provided me with detailed feedback throughout each unit of the course. My tutor, interpreter and I all had to work closely together in order to achieve the results.”
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