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Ensuring your opportunities are accessible

Your organisation might offer opportunities for young people to get involved in its business or services. For example, you might offer volunteering, work experience, apprenticeships or other opportunities. It’s important that you're able and confident to make these opportunities accessible for deaf children and young people too.

You will find lots of useful information in our 'Making your services and workplace deaf-friendly' section. This includes communication top tips, booking and working with communication support professionals and examples of reasonable adjustments that you can put in place.

If you're looking to make sure your leisure opportunities are accessible, have a look at our 'Deaf-friendly youth activities' section where you will find top tips about adapting your activities.

Establishing individual deaf young people’s needs

It's important to gather all the information you need to establish what support a deaf young person needs to be able to fully access your service or opportunities.

Examples of information to find out:

  • How do they prefer to communicate?
  • Is there any specific communication support they require? (For example, automatic captions for an online session or a communication support professional)
  • Does the support differ depending on the environment, number of people attending, etc?
  • Are there any reasonable adjustments they require?

You should also complete a risk assessment to establish if any other reasonable adjustments need to be considered and to make sure the young person will be safe in situations such as emergency evacuations.


Apprenticeships are a valuable opportunity for many deaf young people to develop the skills, experience and confidence they need at work.

Download our 'Supporting the achievement of deaf young people on apprenticeships' resource, which is for providers of apprenticeships, traineeships, supported internships and Modern Apprenticeships (Scotland).


Our Young Inspectors worked with two NHS Trusts to look at their volunteer recruitment processes. Here's an overview of their feedback on how to make volunteering opportunities accessible for deaf young people:

Role descriptions

  • Make the volunteering section of your website easy to find. Role information should be easy to access.
  • Make it clear which roles are suitable for young people.
  • Write in plain English.
  • Break down information into smaller chunks with subheadings.
  • Include a British Sign Language (BSL) translation.
  • Make it clear that applications from deaf young people are welcome. Offer the option to get in touch to discuss the role if the deaf young person doesn't feel they meet any of the criteria or are not sure if it’s for them.
  • Consider having a video of a volunteer talking about their role, to bring it to life. Include captions and BSL on any videos.

Accompanying information

  • Give an overview of support available to deaf applicants and encourage young people to get in touch to talk about what support they may need.
  • Make sure you have easy to find, deaf-friendly contact methods in place.
  • Include BSL translation for any accompanying information.
  • When describing the recruitment journey, use a diagram to make it visual, instead of lots of text.
  • Use easy-to-read fonts and simple backgrounds.
  • Include a summary of training that staff and other volunteers have had, such as deaf awareness training.
  • Link to case studies of other deaf volunteers, if any.

Application process

  • Give contact details of someone the deaf young person could contact if they need help with form.
  • On the application form:
    • Make sure there is space for the applicant to add any information they want to share about disabilities and support needs. Make sure this is a free text box instead of just a tick box.
    • Include a space for the applicant to share how they would like to be contacted, with an option to explain no phone calls and to text or email.
    • Include a separate option for the applicant to say how they would like information or documents to be shared. For example, email, Zoom, call with an interpreter, etc.
    • BSL translation.
  • Once you receive the application, check you have relevant information about support needs. Not everyone is the same. Make sure you have information about what the deaf young person needs in different environments, such as online vs in person, quiet vs noisy areas.
  • Provide an opportunity for the deaf young person to visit where the volunteering role will be. Let them see what the environment is like, meet volunteers and observe.
  • Work together to see if there are any issues that need removing before they can volunteer in that role.


  • Arrange requested communication support well in advance. Provide communication support with information to prepare, including names, questions that will be asked, information that you will talk through, and copies of any PowerPoints.
  • Consider sharing any interview questions with the deaf young person in advance.
  • For digital interviews, add questions to the chat box as you ask them.


  • Match new volunteers with an experienced buddy. 
  • Provide buddy volunteers with deaf awareness training.
  • Make sure the buddy and the deaf volunteer have the opportunity to meet before the first day and get to know each other. This way the deaf young person can provide information about their communication and support needs and share any top tips that will help them.
  • Provide clear face masks if masks are a requirement in any areas.