UK awarding body provides BSL access for free

Monday 31 March

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has partnered with SignVideo to enable deaf British Sign Language (BSL) users to contact them conveniently in their own language.

SQA helps people realise their ambitions by providing a wide range of high quality, internationally recognised qualifications and associated services.

SQA works with schools, colleges, universities and training organisations to develop and deliver these qualifications and assessments.

A BSL Live link is now available on the contact page of the SQA website.

By clicking the link on their computer with a webcam and broadband connection, BSL users are able to connect to a SignVideo interpreter instantly and make a free BSL interpreted call to the SQA Customer Support Team.

SignVideo is particularly proud of this partnership and is looking forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on improving education and employment for the BSL community in Scotland.

SignVideo continues to provide BSL solutions to organisations and businesses who wish to make their services accessible to BSL users who often face major barriers in accessing services.

Jeff McWhinney, Chair and founder of SignVideo said, “The thinking behind this commitment is twofold. Firstly, we are very pleased that SQA has responded positively to improve access for the deaf BSL community. SQA should be applauded and congratulated for their vision and innovation as they are the first awarding body in the United Kingdom to offer full inclusion.
“Secondly, SQA is leading the way forward in providing full access for deaf people, showing how other public service institutions with customer services that are inaccessible for deaf BSL customers could ensure full inclusion for deaf people like myself.
“This excellent example of open and ease of access will provide the means for them to consolidate on their exemplary track record of ensuring that no one is being prevented from using their services.
“Our feedback findings show that many people within the deaf BSL community are increasingly excluded from public services and their number one desire is to gain equality of access to these services without any complexities such as booking a sign language interpreter in advance or waiting for an interpreter to be available online.
“SignVideo, the UK leading Video Relay Service (VRS), is the only service that is 100% accessible without prior booking – instant access to online video sign language interpreters – and we are pleased to welcome SQA in joining our illustrious stable which includes blue chip companies such as Barclays Bank, British Telecom, Bank of Scotland, BSkyB and numerous local authorities throughout the UK.
“We see this as an opportunity for other services to look more closely at their customer services and see if they are currently accommodating deaf people and if not, they are welcome to give us a call to see how they could open up access for them.”
Steve Borley, Head of Marketing at SQA, said, “We are proud of the fact that we are the first awarding body in the UK to offer this service to the deaf BSL community. 

“We ensure that our products and services enable people to realise their ambitions and by improving the equality of access to our customer services, we are giving more people the opportunity to ask to us about the qualifications they want to use to help them reach their personal or professional goals.”

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