New course is a sign to change tack

New course is a sign to change tack

A British Sign Language course has unlocked a real passion for learning from a student with hearing loss.

Finding the right course at a time that would fit around a busy career in insurance was crucial for Andrea Stott, so when Sign Language came up on the list of evening courses with The Trafford College Group she snapped it up.

Andrea from Firswood said: “It just seemed like the perfect opportunity. I’d become interested in learning after going to classes on a cruise, so it just came up at the right time for me.”

Andrea was diagnosed with 2-3 per cent of hearing in her right ear in primary school, which increased to 25 per cent following an operation. While she says hearing has never been a problem, she has created different strategies to overcome challenges in communication.

The 51-year-old explained: “I’ve never registered as disabled because I don’t see my hearing as an issue. I just hold a phone with my left hand rather than my right, and sometimes I ask people to talk to my other side.

“But doing the course in British Sign Language has been really useful. I think it would be good for everyone, particularly if you’re trying to communicate in noisy places. I have friends who use sign language with their families, and I can’t wait to try it out!”

Trafford College’s course is for anyone interested in learning to sign. During six weeks, students are introduced to the basics of conversational BSL from greetings and introductions to numbers, and it has proved so popular that the College is running a Level One qualification in BSL in the New Year.

“We all still keep in touch through WhatsApp, and many of us are keen to take our learning to the next level. Our tutor Lorri Wilson made it all really easy, I’m so impressed that she can read braille as well!

“Due to COVID, the class size was small and we were all practising what we had learned a distance apart from each other. I wanted a course that was in person because I learn much better in a classroom environment, when I feel like I can ask questions and get answers back directly. The course really worked for me.”

If you would like to enrol on one of our community courses, please contact our Community Learning Team on (0161) 886 7443/1 or