A University of Wolverhampton graduate is signing her way to success after being nominated for a national diversity award.
Sign language interpreter and disability advocate Vicki Frost has been nominated in the Entrepreneur of Excellence category of the National Diversity Awards.
Vicki, from Wolverhampton, graduated with a BA (Hons) in Interpreting: British Sign Language (BSL)/English in 2008 and is currently studying the MA in Interpreting.
She said: “I am a sign language interpreter by trade. My second company Sign Connect launched in November and works with businesses to improve how they deliver information to their customers. I make inclusive videos that have sign language, subtitles and voice overs that work much better for a number of people that are Deaf or disabled consumers.
“Working with the Deaf community is great to see the language and culture as well as the diversity of the community. I approached the Prince’s Trust with an idea that could help. My funding bid was successful and Sign Connect was born.
“Sign Connect is based on a simple principle. Companies produce most of their content in written English, but the average reading age of a deaf adult is eight years old. Companies could however budget to make this information in a more accessible format. I use Deaf presenters to film the information in sign language. I then realised that by adding voiceover and subtitles it actually then expanded the audience to include people with Autism, Dyslexia and even dementia.
“Videos work for people that use sign, that are learning sign, that can’t see, that can’t read, that prefer subtitles or that prefer listening to content. These are stored as QR codes and so companies don’t have to compromise on space but they do drastically alter the amount of people that can now access their information.
“My aim is that in five years the NHS, DWP and all major providers of compulsory services be expected to distribute their information in this newer more inclusive format. Missed appointments will reduce, feelings of anxiety will lessen and people will have more control over how they receive their content.”
Sarah Bown, Senior Lecturer for the Interpreting programme, said: “The University launched the Interpreting programme in 1993 as part of its wider mission to broaden opportunities for Deaf people by facilitating Deaf people’s access to Higher Education and raising Deaf awareness within all areas of society and work. In 2018, the programme celebrated 25 years of success in sign language interpreter education and training. With its outstanding and unparalleled success, it has come to be the longest running higher education provider of sign language interpreter education and training in the UK.
“Our graduates are to be found working as interpreters for and between Deaf and hearing communities across all sectors of society. We are delighted to see that Victoria has been nominated for this award which is another example of the profound impact that our students and graduates make within wider society.”
The National Diversity Awards receives over 25,000 nominations and votes annually. Liverpool Anglican Cathedral will host this year’s awards on 20 September 2019, which recognise nominees in their respective ﬁelds of diversity including age, disability, gender, race, faith, religion and sexual orientation.
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Date Issued: Monday, 10 June 2019