Information for you
We have lots of information on different topics, from money management and advice to health to university and work. Have a look below to see what information we can give you.
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There's a whole world of technology available for deaf young adults just like you and it can sometimes be hard to know what to buy and what will work for you. So we're here to help!
Our Technology Test Drive is a great opportunity for you to try out technology which has been specially made for deaf people.
We have over 100 different devices that you can borrow, for free! You can borrow anything from a vibrating alarm clock to the latest digital streamers, and we’re adding new stuff all the time. It’s a fantastic opportunity for you to decide what tech works for you.
All you have to do is:
- choose what you want to borrow
- complete the request form online or call our Helpline team on 0808 800 8880
- try out the device
- return the device to us.
It couldn’t be any simpler! Plus, if you want to let us know what you think of the device you borrowed, just email us, we’d love to hear from you.
If you are curious about what technology deaf adults use to overcome barriers in their studies and at work, then have a look at our technology case studies!
Being able to manage your money is an important skill that you will use throughout your life – in education, work and living independently.
By understanding what you need to spend and save, you will be more confident with managing your money and making the right choices. This will help to reduce your risk of getting into debt, as you will be in control and understand the different options that are available to you.
There is lots of support available around money management – this information will help you to make the money-related decisions that you feel are best for you.
The Princes Trust have also partnered with Money Advice Service to bring you a budget planner and tips for handling money. This is clear information that has been designed to support you with your finances.
Since September 2016, Lloyds Banking Group has partnered with UK Youth to offer a personal money management programme. This means you can improve your skills and manage your money better on a daily basis. Topics that you can learn about include training and education, and starting work.
If you get into problems with money, the Money Advice Service will be able to give you help and advice to make things better.
Remember that there might also be extra money or savings to help you with independent living, travel, studying at university and also support at work.
Banks and building societies
Many banks, such as Barclays, Lloyds, NatWest, TSB and Santander, have their own banking app, meaning you can check what’s been going in and out of your account. Some apps will even send a text message to your phone when you have gone overdrawn!
Before opening an account, ask what the bank or building society does to help deaf customers. When we wrote this we did a quick web search and found that Halifax, Barclays, RBS, Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, Santander and TSB all offered a SignVideo service for British Sign Language (BSL) users.
Other banks might be introducing better BSL support, but you may also be interested in text-relay, loop system and other forms of help. Whichever is your choice, you need to know your bank can help.
Being healthy is important. Your doctor or GP will help you if you are ill and you can also get help from NHS 111. But if you have any concerns, we have found some good websites to help you with your physical, emotional, mental or sexual health concerns, if you have any:
- BSL health advice from Sign Health
- Sexual health, contraception, pregnancy and body image
- General health information for young people and students
- Emotional health and mental health information
If you know of any other helpful support or services that should be shared with other deaf young adults, please email to let us know.
When you see a doctor or other health practitioner, they have responsibility to book and pay for communications support if you want it. This is your right under the Equality Act 2010.
My Life, My Health has lots more information about deaf young people getting proper access to doctors.
If you don’t get the communication support you need at the doctor’s surgery, or find it hard even to book an appointment because the systems for doing it are not accessible (e.g. phone only), you can make a complaint. Signhealth have developed advice on how you can do this.
If you are a BSL user, you can now use a service called Interpreter Now to communicate with the NHS helpline via an online interpreter.
PIP is money given by the government (known as a benefit) for people aged 16-64 whose disability means they have difficulty with daily living or getting around.
Some deaf people can get PIP – it depends how much your deafness affects you.
PIP isn’t means-tested or taxed. It has nothing to do with how much money you (or your parents if you live at home) earn or have in
Speech-to-text reporters (also known as palantypists or stenographers) type up everything that is being said as a ‘live feed’ using a special keyboard. This will often be displayed on a laptop, projector or tablet screen in front of you.
Some of these reporters now provide ‘remote’ support. A remote reporter is different because they are not in the same room as you. They usually listen to what is being said through Skype or a teleconference phone. They then type what’s being said on a special webpage that you can open using a tablet or laptop. You would need a good microphone as well as a strong WiFi connection for remote support to work. You can use this in job interviews as well as in meetings.
A lipspeaker will sit facing you and will copy the words of the speaker using unspoken word with clear lip-patterns. They have been trained to do this.
Note-takers will sit in a lesson, lecture or meeting with you and take notes so you can concentrate on following what’s being said.
A sign language interpreter will interpret for you what is being said. They will do this in either British Sign Language (BSL) or Sign Supported English (SSE), depending on your preference. They can also ‘voice over’ for deaf young people who do not use speech. It is fine to have interpreters at job interviews to help you understand what is being said and to voice your answers to questions, if you need this help.
Study support, for example note-takers, is available for deaf students through Disabled Student Allowance (DSA).
Communication Support Worker (CSW)
CSWs can support in class or lectures by interpreting, note-taking or lipspeaking.
Teacher of the Deaf (ToD)
ToDs are specialist teachers who are qualified in deaf education. All deaf students in school or college should have a ToD to support them, and to make sure that the support you need from your school, college, apprenticeship training or university is in place.
It is important to be aware of your rights under the law when you leave school. Colleges, apprenticeships, work placements and employment should be accessible to you. An employer is not allowed to turn you down for a job just because you are deaf. A college cannot refuse to provide you with the additional support you need to complete your course without a very good reason.
The Equality Act (2010) applies in England, Wales and Scotland. This means education providers and employers must ensure that disabled people, including deaf people, are not at a significant disadvantage compared to other students and employees.
In Northern Ireland the Disability Discrimination Act provides similar rights to deaf people as the Equality Act.
Under these laws, education providers and employers must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to meet your needs. These might be making changes to rooms to improve sound quality, contacting you by email rather than phone or providing communication support such as a sign language interpreter.
In some cases, an education provider or employer may say that what is being of asked of them is not reasonable. For example, they could argue that:
- the adjustment would not work
- it has a negative effect on other students
- it is too expensive for them.
Remember that if you are in education or in paid employment, your education provider or employer can receive Government funding such as Disabled Students Allowance for higher education students or Access to Work if you are in employment to pay for communication support or equipment.
As a deaf young person, taking a gap year and travelling in general is a great way to increase your confidence, make new friends and learn more about the world. It can also bring specific challenges.
So here are some tips to make sure your trip goes smoothly:
1. Missing important announcements on the plane, train or in the hotel
- At the airport - arrive early and keep checking the departures board. Tell the person at the boarding gate you’re deaf and need to be notified when it’s time to board. There are also apps available for real-time alerts for changes in flight plans.
- On the plane - tell the flight attendant you’re deaf and may need in-flight announcements in person.
- At the station - if you see lots of people on the platform move away, ask someone what’s going on. If in doubt, check with station staff.
- At the hotel - inform the receptionist that you’re deaf so that they can alert you in case of emergency. Major hotels may have alerting devices which flash or vibrate strongly when the fire alarm goes off.
2. Not hearing what tour guides and activity leaders are saying
- Tour guides will usually help by writing information down, pointing or using hand gestures. Book the tour in advance and ask for a transcript if possible.
- There are some deaf tour guides – the sign language might be different but at least they’ll be deaf aware.
- If there are activities you want to do with an interpreter, check in advance about disability access on the company’s website.
3. Communication barriers when seeking information
- Visit the information centre and get lots of leaflets. Ask staff to make bookings for you.
- Go online or download apps (Expedia, Trip Advisor, airlines, etc.) to make bookings.
- In some countries, there are services for deaf people such as typetalk.
- Write things down if necessary.
4. Looking after hearing technology abroad
- Make sure there’s space in your luggage for your hearing equipment, and don’t forget spare batteries.
- Consider buying a dehumidifier for drying out your hearing aids.
- As with any other precious belongings, lock up your hearing technology when you’re not using it.
5. Swimming without your hearing technology: will you feel safe without it and how far away are you willing to swim from it?
- You can buy a waterproof bag to keep your hearing technology safe and dry on the poolside or beach while you’re swimming.
- If you’re with a group of people, ask one of them to guard your hearing technology while you’re swimming, and take turns in the water.
Benefits of taking a gap year
There are plenty of benefits to taking a gap year - probably too many to list here, so here are just a few reasons to get packing and go for it:
- explore new countries and discover new cultures
- step outside your comfort zone, get confident and be independent
- learn new skills by volunteering
- meet fellow travellers, make new friends from around the globe
- take a break and return refreshed and ready to focus on your education or career
- add a unique experience to your CV.
Ruth’s gap year experience
Deaf vlogger Ruth worked for a deaf school in Sri Lanka: “I felt empowered and I connected well with the children, encouraging them… so that made me realise I want a career in that area like connecting with deaf people in education, encouraging and campaigning.”
Watch Ruth’s vlog:
Volunteering in the UK or abroad can be a real boost to your confidence. Being deaf should not stop you and there are hundreds of deaf young people who have succeeded in making these opportunities work for them.
Voluntary work can be as little as a few hours a week, or much more – the choice is yours!
- Develop new skills, such as teamwork, independence and self confidence.
- Achieve a personal challenge – complete a new activity, travel to different places.
- Great opportunity to add to your CV, which will be useful for the future.
- Some paid jobs recruit people who have done voluntary work first.
- Meet people who might be able to help you in the future. These might be people who could give you a job, introduce you to someone who can, or simply write a good reference for you.
The gov.uk website has lots of information around voluntary placements, rights and expenses, which will give you a better understanding of what is involved. There are many voluntary organisations in the UK and abroad that are involved with conservation work and providing support in the community.
The Mix website explains different options linked to volunteering, and what you could consider as part of your personal development. The Duke of Edinburgh Award has five elements to complete for the Gold Award, including volunteering over a 12-18 month period. It is a difficult award to achieve, but employers see this as valuable experience for young people.
Volunteer for us
Our volunteers are deaf young people aged 16-25 who we have trained to become volunteers. They might be volunteering with us in roles such as fundraising, peer-mentoring, campaigning, our Roadshow (bus), and others.
We also work with other volunteering organisations to make sure that deaf young adults are able to volunteer in activities like sport, performing arts, conservation and much more. All of our volunteering partners commit to our Deaf Friendly Standard so that their opportunities are accessible.
We also have other volunteer roles you might be interested in, including youth support volunteers who support deaf children at different events. This could be for one day, or even a 5 day residential camp over the summer holidays!
Before you do voluntary work with any organisation, it is important to find out:
- Has the organisation worked with deaf young people before?
- Are they experienced with setting up a support network to meet your needs?
- Has the training been adapted? (quiet environment, subtitled videos, BSL interpreters?)
- Are they willing to learn to be deaf friendly? Let us know if they want help!
Apprenticeships allow you to get qualifications while you are working (and getting paid). Sometimes you go to college for a day each week but on some apprenticeships you might have some time to learn at work. In other apprenticeships you might go away to a residential training centre from time to time.
Apprenticeships are available from Level 2 (same as GCSEs) right through to degree level. This means that it is possible to plan a route to qualify professionally in many jobs.
There is a huge variety of job choices, whether its animal care, electrician, nuclear science, hairdressing, legal... there are too many to mention here but there are helpful websites that can give you the full list.
Find out more about applying for apprenticeships with Sam's story.
Watch Fraser's story to see what an apprenticeship is like.
BSL and apprenticeships
BSL qualifications can be accepted instead of English if BSL is your first language. In all apprenticeships you have to be able to pass functional skills tests and this makes things much fairer for deaf young people who use BSL.
Traineeships (England and Wales) help you prepare for apprenticeships by giving you an extended work placement. While you are doing the placement, you will also get help to improve your functional skills. You don’t have to do an apprenticeship when you finish your traineeship but people often take this as their next option. You can also do other things like go to college.
Employers do not have to pay you to do a traineeship but they should offer help with travel and lunch costs.
There is also support for deaf young people on traineeships.
How do I get support on an apprenticeship or traineeship?
Because of the way that work and study are mixed, you might want your support to be given in different ways. For instance, if you are working outside, you might feel that you need an interpreter, but a note-taker works better for you in a classroom.
When working in an apprenticeship you have the same rights as other people in employment. This means that you can apply for help through Access to Work, which we strongly suggest you find out about.
When you are learning, your college or training provider should be making sure that your support needs are being met as much as possible. It’s the same as with college – you need to meet your college or training provider before you start the apprenticeship or traineeship to make sure that they are ready to support you.
For more information on apprenticeships, including vacancies and how much you should expect to get paid, visit Get In Go Far.
Further education is any formal education you do after the age of 16. Further education is different to higher education, which is when you study a university degree or diploma. In some areas, there are different types of colleges. Usually there are sixth forms, colleges of further education and some specialist colleges. At age 18 you can also go to adult education colleges which offer some very different course options.
What can I learn?
All the academic options you might expect, plus vocational choices like accounting, business, cars, design, equestrian, floristry and many more. You get the idea – there is something for everyone, from A to Z. You can learn how to do jobs on vocational courses or take academic subjects if you prefer.
What support will I get?
This depends on the college or school you are at, the type of course you do and where you live. Remember that you are entitled to support whatever you do and you need to make sure that what you need is in place. From the age of 16 and up there is more responsibility on you to make sure that your support needs are being met.
You will find that further education is different to school, with learning in class, smaller groups, the development of practical skills in different and sometimes noisy environments etc. Try to understand about these different situations when thinking about the support you might need.
You should have the opportunity to try different types of communication support and technology, including:
- communication support workers (CSW)
- manual notetakers (takes notes so you don’t miss important things that are said)
- electronic notetakers (also takes notes so you don’t miss important things that are said)
Some colleges will not have the support you need and you might need to think about going to a different college that can best meet your needs.
Make sure you ask the college about supporting you. Meet the student support officer or disability officer at the college you are interested in. You can talk about your support needs and make sure that they are able to ensure things are in place for the start of term. Don’t forget to take a look at our technology test drive page for more ideas about things that can help.
Further education is free for three years after you leave school at the age of 16. If you have an EHC Plan, further education is free up to the age of 25.
If you are studying for your first qualification equivalent to a GCSE or an A Level, you might not have to pay.
There are some schemes where you can apply for help with other costs, such as travel, books and equipment.
University, sometimes called higher education, is where you study a particular subject or two and get a degree.
Why might I want to go to university?
You might need a degree to apply for some jobs. Some people want to go to university for the experience, like meeting new friends and living away from home. If you would like to, start looking into (researching) courses and universities as soon as possible. Talk to a careers advisor about your options to find out what grades and subjects you need to get into university, so you can be prepared when you apply.
How do I apply for university?
UCAS is responsible for dealing with all university applications. Visit their website to see what you have to do.
UCAS has a series of videos in BSL about applying for University and also lots of written advice about applying.
To find the BSL specific content, enter "BSL" in the Show me videos search box - there are seven BSL videos available, with information ranging from writing personal statements, to open days, to how to apply.
What support will I get at university?
Be prepared that the support you get at university might be very different to the support you get at school or college. Support might include using a notetaker to write notes while you concentrate on what is being said in a lecture.
Every university should have a disability advisor or officer. It is this person’s job to make sure that your support needs are met and that you can get fully involved in university life. You might be able to meet them if you go to an open day.
Alternatives to university
You can now do degree level qualifications through apprenticeships. We have some information in the above Apprenticeships and traineeships section, so you can find out more.
Deaf people do all sorts of jobs. There are a small number of jobs that deaf people are not allowed to do, because being able to hear is important for safety reasons – for example, jobs in the armed forces.
But with the right support, most jobs will be open to you and it is important you aim high. Don’t let your deafness stop you doing what you really want!
You should have got free careers advice at school or college. You can still get free careers advice if you are at sixth form, college or university or from the National Careers Service if you are not in education at the moment. Careers advisors should explain what qualifications you need to do the jobs you are interested in, and what each job will involve doing.
Work experience and internships
Work experience and internships give you the chance to try out a job. These are usually unpaid but they give you great experience and something valuable to put on your CV and share with future employers.
What support will I get?
Your employer has a legal duty to make sure that they are meeting your needs (called reasonable adjustments). Reasonable adjustments are made based on your own support needs and can include being given specialist equipment, changing your working hours or providing communication support in meetings.
Some employers have never worked with deaf people before. It's important for you to be honest about your needs, so that they know what they need to do to help you.
Access to Work is a government scheme that you can apply for to pay for things in the workplace like interpreters and notetakers. There may be some forms of support you have never used before, like a speech-to-text reporter, that might work well for you.
Should I tell my employer I am deaf when I apply for work?
This is a difficult question and many deaf people have different views on it. Some people prefer to wait before saying they are deaf. Others feel it is better to be open about being deaf from the start so you get the support you need at interviews – Access to Work pays for this support. Remember, if you don’t tell them, there will not be the support you need to do your best at the interview.
There is no right or wrong answer and you will need to think carefully and decide for yourself. Speak to a friend, family member or someone you trust for advice if you’re not sure.
Our project with the Department for Education set out to identify and help break down barriers to employment for deaf young people.
To achieve this, we have created a collection of resources for deaf young people, their parents and employers.
All of these resources are also available on the Buzz, our website for deaf young people.
Download a template personal profile that deaf people can complete to give employers information about reasonable adjustments they might need in the workplace or for work experience.
The template includes the following sections, but can be personalised to suit each individual’s needs:
- About my deafness
- Communication tips
- My technology
- My communication support needs
- Other adjustments that would help me
- Health and safety
- Situations I find challenging at work
- Additional information
- Useful resources.
The idea is for your child to read the explanatory notes in the template, then delete them and fill it in with their own details.
We have also created an example of a completed personal profile to give you an idea of what your child might want to say in theirs.
Short videos on deaf young people and employment
All our videos are fully accessible and have subtitles, in vision BSL translation and a voiceover.
Alex talks about his experiences as a deaf person in the hearing world of work.
Max talks about being deaf in the world of work.
Jack talks about how he's helped colleagues become deaf aware.
Emily talks about how 'reasonable adjustments' can help at work.
Alex talks about getting the right communication support at work.
Max talking about saying he's deaf on job application forms.
Parents talk about supporting their deaf child to get a job.
Guide for employers with deaf job candidates.
Breaking the sound barrier: A guide to recruiting and supporting deaf colleagues
Breaking the Sound Barrier is a handbook to help employers make sure their recruitment process and workplace are as fair and accessible to deaf people as possible.
The handbook includes information on:
- Communication tips
- Reasonable adjustments
- Communication support
- Access to Work
- Health and safety.