Free hearing training robs me of paid work

As a qualified deaf trainer I was asked to deliver some Deaf Awareness training for a local organisation. I have just heard that the company was contacted by a charity offering free DA training as they had recently got a grant. I have now lost that piece of work. Do these charities know what they are doing to us?


Deafauntie says:
Judging by your originally long email, you are clearly angry – and I empathise fully. Myself having delivered Deaf Awareness (DA) training for years, I too have been angry about this. Deaf organisations (the larger ones, anyway) kid themselves that they really care about deaf clients and staff in the workplace, but the reality is they know they can get grants for this sort of work.
What funders don’t realise is that as soon as the project has finished, the charities then forget about it and move on to other projects. Meanwhile DA trainers stick around for many years with an on-going commitment to their work, often doing follow-ups to make sure all is still going well.
It’s a pity that organisations don’t apply for grants to train more deaf people to become excellent DA trainers – now wouldn’t that be a great way to create a legacy that lasts for years? I haven’t really given you any advice – only my opinion, because I am not sure what we can do about this.  We can’t stamp our feet and shout ‘not fair!’ all the time, but there must be a better way of creating a level playing field for everyone.
I asked a well-respected DA trainer for his views and that is what he came back with: “It really pisses me off having deaf organisations waste resources on something that’s already well served by deaf businesses or freelancers when there are many areas in desperate need for improvement such as deaf education, standards of interpreters, tackling the glass ceiling for Deaf professionals etc. But it’s easy for charities to pick easy work rather than focus on the real needs which are far more challenging.”

2 responses to “Free hearing training robs me of paid work

  1. Hello. I totally, totally sympathise with you, Peter. I often have recommended Deaf Works only to find the preference is elsewhere because the Access To Work seem to know best and recommend the wrong people. It infuriates me often. The impression I get is that companies seem to think recommendations by Access to Work to use deaf charities are better just because they are a government body. All I can suggest is a something like ofaware (similar to ofsted) being set up, listing on whats on offer by deaf businesses specialising in deaf awareness and other disabilities businesses. It would ‘encourage’ deaf businesses to be recognised. I do realise that setting up ‘ofaware’ is a massive project in itself but can only be a step in the right direction. Also maybe you can create a weekly/monthly column in the local paper or even the new SL magazine could put you on the ‘map’ as people would take your column as the ‘authority’ if you know what I mean. I often find that websites no longer focus in people’s minds so its best to do an advert now and then – it may be expensive but again could stop deaf charities stealing your businesses

  2. Hi Peter.

    In these tough economic times organisations are looking to cut costs and make savings wherever they can. So it’s hardly surprising if deaf awareness training that is free of charge is preferred to chargeable training.

    I don’t think it’s fair to blame the charities for offering organisations a better deal than private trainers can. The charities are funded by grants and donations which they have to work hard to earn just as a private firm has to work hard to sell its services at a price to the customer. And of course the remit of the deaf charities is to provide support to deaf people, not to help private companies with their balance sheets.

    In some ways providing free (ie grant-funded) deaf awareness training is a bit like providing free (ie NHS-funded) hearing aids. Private hearing aid dispensers are in competition with the NHS for their business but I’m not aware of many complaints from the private sector about level playing fields. And I’m sure there would be an outcry from deaf people if the provision of free hearing aids was halted because it was unfair to the private sector.

    On a more encouraging note, it’s worth mentioning that here in Scotland there’s a government proposal to make deaf awareness training mandatory for health and social care organisations. Although it’s not yet clear how the training would be funded, it would potentially generate lots of business for deaf awareness trainers.

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