A University of Wolverhampton graduate is celebrating after achieving a top status for sign language interpreters.
Mary-Jane Derbyshire is the first student from the BA (Hons) Interpreting (British Sign Language/English) course to achieve the Registered Sign Language Interpreter (RSLI) status.
The course was accredited by the National Register of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People (NRCPD) in 2014 - the first BA route in the UK to achieve this endorsement.
Graduates with a First Class honours degree from the University’s course can register as full members of the Register of Sign Language Interpreters with the NRCPD, meaning they can start their professional working life as a Registered Sign Language Interpreter anywhere in the UK, without the need to obtain further qualifications.
Having graduated in September 2017, Mary-Jane is the first person from the University to achieve the RSLI status.
The 32-year old from the Staffordshire Moorlands has secured a part-time post as a Sign Language Interpreter supporting students and staff at the University while also working as a freelance interpreter.
She said: “Although the job is continually challenging I would not change it for the world and look forward to developing my interpreting and language skills in what is the infancy of my career.
“The course here at the University is structured in such a way that it prepared me and guided me as I started my career as a sign language interpreter. The encouragement and support from my course leaders and lecturers enabled me to confidently progress my journey from student to working as an interpreter.
“My work placement was also a hugely beneficial experience. I was able to shadow interpreters that had been working in the field for over 20 years, so I could feed off their expertise and see interpreting in the community first hand.”
Sandra Pratt, Joint Course Leader for Interpreting and Deaf Studies, said: "Mary-Jane put a great deal of effort into her studies and it’s great to see that hard work pay off. We are very proud of her achievement as well as that of all our students."
Christopher Stone, Joint Course Leader for Interpreting and Deaf Studies, said: "It was a pleasure teaching Mary-Jane; she was always very committed and engaged with her studies. Her work placement allowed her to blossom and, in gaining real world experience, took her to the next level. Achieving a first class honours degree is no mean feat and achieving RSLI is well deserved."
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Date Issued: Monday, 08 January 2018