Thursday, 13 October 2011

Guest Blog-London Deaf Learners


DATE: 10/10/11


LONDON’S Deaf students are being given a helping hand to make the leap into higher education so they can join the next generation of business leaders.

Currently Deaf students make up just 0.17 per cent of all UK university applicants and for those that do graduate unemployment levels have doubled in the last two years.

Often the application process for university and the workplace is a minefield for Deaf people where they are held back by a lack of sign language interpreters and a poor understanding of the needs of the hearing impaired.

Now Abdisalan Gas, founder of Deaf Unity, is launching London Deaf Learners to help the capital’s young Deaf community overcome these barriers and fulfil their true potential.

Abdi, 27, explained his motivation for setting up the new initiative: “There are a lot of incredibly smart Deaf people in this city but they are denied the opportunity of a place at university or a good job because the interview process is seldom set up with Deaf people in mind – for instance the provision of interpreters can be an incredibly complex process.

“A Deaf person has to fight for access or adjustment but they fear that speaking up will be interpreted as being a trouble maker seeking an unfair advantage.

“As a consequence many lack the confidence to apply and they massively sell themselves short. As a Deaf person myself, when I applied to study at university I found the process stressful and bewildering.”

Skill training workshops available through London Deaf Learners will include interview technique coaching, CV clinics, presentation training and mentoring sessions.

The new scheme will be unveiled on October 20th at City Hall. It is supported by the London Sustainable Development Commission’s London Leaders programme, which is backed by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

Boris Johnson said: "This is a great project from one of our London Leaders. I look forward to seeing this programme support Deaf Londoners into university and capitalise on all the opportunities our great city has to offer."

Deaf Unity is also forming a London-wide Deaf alumni network which will act as a resource for any members of the Deaf community facing discrimination or barriers to employment.

Abdi said: “We need to show that there is a demand for change so we are calling on the Deaf community to get involved and spread the word about the project.”

For more information on London Deaf Learners and how to get involved visit

Anyone wishing to attend the launch in October can register here:

For media enquiries contact Gemma Keogh, Arc Seven Communications,, t - 01373 301904, m – 07861222496


Notes to Editors

About Deaf Unity

· Deaf Unity aims to improve the quality of life of Deaf people in the UK and worldwide.

· Deaf Unity aims to raise awareness of Deaf culture and language and advocate in the interests of Deaf people to eliminate disadvantage and suffering.

· Abdi Gas was appointed as a London Leader of 2011, in recognition of Deaf Unity and this project’s aim to meet the LDSC’s sustainable development priorities.