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June 11, 2004

Interpreters' qualification is the sign of success

From: Belfast Telegraph (subscription), UK - Jun 11, 2004

By Bob McCullough

THE crying need in the deaf community is for more sign language interpreters and Joe Higgins, manager of sign language and deaf-related courses at the Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education, spoke with me about the NVQ level 4 Units in BSL that will be available from September this year.

Joe says these units are an essential first step for new and existing sign language interpreters needing to become qualified. The course has been designed to meet the needs of those who are already working as BSL interpreters and the units will subsequently be made available to those who achieved the level 3 units and wish to progress to the next stage.

The course has no external funding, so the course fee has been set at £750. This will include tuition, guest lectures, assessment, internal verification and the course handbook. The course will run on one morning a week and on one Saturday morning a month.

Candidates who meet the entrance criteria will be invited to an interview where members of the course team will assess skills, knowledge and attitude. At the end of the course, they will be expected to present completed portfolios by Tuesday, May 11, 2005.

The entrance requirements are stage 3 BSL or NVQ level 3 units or equivalent, plus experience of working as a BSL interpreter. Interviews will last all day and candidates must attend on either June 28 or August 31.

The demand for fully qualified interpreters is insatiable and the six we have in Northern Ireland are often booked up for weeks ahead. Sign language communication is now taken for granted in courts, hospitals, doctors' surgeries and all the many other situations where deaf people have previously been at a disadvantage. For legal and other reasons it is imperative that the interpreter has the highest possible qualification and this course will help pave the way.

If you would like an application form or wish to discuss the course with Joe or one of the team, please contact the course secretary Barbara on 028 90 265040 or e-mail her at Completed application forms should be returned to the Sign Language and Deaf-related Courses section before Wednesday June 23 2004.

NIDYA Director Barry Campbell sends news of the 17th five-a-side football tournament organised by the Ulster Deaf Sports Council and running from 9.30am to 3pm on Saturday, July 3 in the Valley Leisure Centre at Newtownabbey.

The entrance fee is £5 per person and Barry says they have the use of an outdoor AstroTurf pitch and the competition is open to both men and women over 16. Prizes will be awarded for the winning team, runner-up, top goal scorer and best male and female player of the tournament.

For more information contact Barry at Wilton House on fax 90 312255 or by mobile on 07732 890306.

The Belfast Telegraph "Young Authors and Writers" awards ceremony, organised by the National Deaf Children's Society, takes place on Monday, June 14 at 11.30 am in the Lecture Room of the Ulster Museum. Family and friends are welcome.

© 2004 Independent News and Media (NI) a division of Independent News & media (UK) Ltd