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Unemployed and need an interpreter – not fair!

There are many small training centres which offer loads of short courses – great for hearing people but I’m a BSL user and not working. Many centres (not colleges) don’t provide BSL interpreters, most of them think too expensive? I need a BSL interpreter, it will help me and other deaf people a lot for extra skills and get a good job, look great on my CV etc. Not fair!

Deafauntie says:

Yes you are right – it is not fair. If it is work-related training, deaf employees can use their Access to work budget. If it is training for leisure activities then I suppose you could use your DLA (if you get this) to cover your communication support. You are describing something in between – not for work and not for play but as someone looking for work.

JobCentres will sometimes provide interpreters for interviews (JobCentres seems to vary) but I don’t think they provide interpreters for training courses. If you are young, then from now on, “Access to Work will be available to those undertaking voluntary work experience under the Youth Contract. Access to Work can also support young people on the Department for Education’s Supported Internships which are for 16-25 year olds with disabilities.” [Quote from Disability Rights UK]

Large training organisations are often asked to provide interpreters for their deaf clients (some do and some don’t), but small ones often have difficulty paying for two interpreters, let alone one. I really don’t have the answer, so hopefully someone else will (not a political answer but a practical one please).

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4 responses to “Unemployed and need an interpreter – not fair!

  1. I come across this time and time again. In my case I need a palantypist. V expensive. However I have found that if you ask nicely and they refuse…..

    Try this approach, ” I am sorry but i am going to have to invoke the Equality Act 2010 against you as a service provider for failing to providing equal access for me”…..often that scares them into action. Then suggest to them that they need to to have a look at this law before refusing again. Allow them time to recheck and then ask again.

    Better in writing always…but you can try verbally at first. I do this and it has worked everytime so far!! Good luck and be brave stick up for your rights.

  2. Christine Staines

    Would it be an ideal to find a freelance trainee interpreter student who could do the job in exchange for their work experience? A lot of trainee interpreters require video evidence of their work and very often they are turned down because of the nature of the job. Usually short courses do not require confidentiality so making it suitable for trainee interpreters to gather evidence. This way, both student and trainee student get to benefit.

  3. If you are on the Work Programme or Work Choice programme then the provider has to provide interpreters.

    If it is a short course that could improve your employment prospects then it is worth asking at the job centre if they will pay for it especially if you are claiming JSA …they dont always say yes but it is worth a try especially if it could lead you to a job in a sector that employers are struggling to recruit for.

    Also Providers do have a responsibility under the Equality Act but that is another story

  4. It is vital that we stick up for our rights, because if we don’t, nothing is going to change for us, especially in the workplace. The voluntary sector is excellent and Access to Work have now decided to include voluntary positions, but only for those up to 24 years of age. This needs to be challenged because there are plenty other older recipients who could seriously benefit from this change in their system. I am struggling with the same kind of problem and feel we could make a difference if we get together in large numbers to protest our corner!

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