Apprentices and Interns working in the House of Commons Service have received Deaf awareness training as part of their induction programme.

The aim of the training was to help raise awareness of deafness and equip them with the skills to communicate with deaf people and colleagues more effectively.

Society, especially one based on democracy like ours is supposed to be open to all so it’s a good thing that such training opportunities take place. All too often, people can be completely marginalised because of their disabilities. The work of award winning workplace training and consultancy company HearFirst who delivered the training aims to put that right – and where better to do so than in the heart of Westminster where so many decisions are made for us – whilst not necessarily being made ‘with us’. Training sessions like this will not only help to deconstruct the myths that can too easily grow up around disabilities but it will also help to raise awareness and further the conversation about inclusion.

As we approach a General Election it’d be more impressive if even a few MPs volunteered to receive the training. The feeling amongst voters, irrespective of ability up and down the country is often that of disconnect. This small step would at least show a willingness to communicate – and I’m sure there’s a chiming gag about ‘MP’s that don’t listen’ in there somewhere!

The course was facilitated by tutors who themselves have a disability.  The purpose of this is to add relevance and depth to the training and the apprentices learnt about all ranges of deafness including hard of hearing, deafened, deafblind and deaf and the communication methods that can be used.

Jo Mills, Diversity and Inclusion Programme Manager at the House of Commons, said: “The training provided by HearFirst offers our apprentices and interns sound, confident advice and guidance about how to be inclusive and aware of those visitors, colleagues or members of the public that they come into contact with as part of their time here at Parliament.”

HearFirst provides a full range of equality & diversity training courses to organisations across the UK. For more information on Deaf, disability awareness and BSL training, please contact Julie at HearFirst on 01706 872 816 or visit