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A week with Zebra Access: Jessica's time with us on a work experience placement

Last month we had a student on a work experience placement with us for a week.

Jessica has written an account of her time at  Zebra Access and what she has learnt from working with Zebra Access and the Deaf community. 


This summer, I have done work experience with Zebra Access. Despite only being a beginner (with not even an official level 1 BSL qualification to my name), I found that this week improved both my BSL skills and deaf awareness tenfold. I undertook a range of activities during my week, such as coming up with ideas for BSL activities for an upcoming beginner’s course, shadowing a member of staff on a home visit, helping out with job club, among many others. However, the best part of my week’s work experience was, in my opinion, helping out at the weekly coffee morning at the Lighthouse in Wolverhampton. As I came to the end of the week, I felt more confident with my BSL skills, and the coffee morning was the perfect environment to test my skills in. During the morning, I interacted with a variety of different people, taking part in group activities and having a one-to-one conversation, which boosted my receptive skills and helped me to hesitate less in my signing.

              In addition to this, I also really enjoyed shadowing Craig, Zebra Access’ advocate. During this session, I learned more about accessibility of technology for D/deaf and hard of hearing people and I became more aware of the problems that D/deaf and hard of hearing people may face in their day-to-day lives. This also increased my awareness about the communication requirements of different people, especially regarding whether the person is verbal or non-verbal. This presented its own unique challenges, but it made me appreciate the variety of methods of communication used by D/deaf and hard of hearing people, as well as the tools needed to bridge the gaps in communication.

I originally wanted to learn BSL because I love languages and want to study them further. But as I have learned more about BSL and interacted more with D/deaf and hard of hearing people, I have come to love BSL and I find that, even with a limited knowledge of BSL, it is still fun to try to piece together the words I do know and use context to make an educated guess as to the actual meaning. Recently, I have been going to the beginner’s BSL course run by Zebra Access biannually, and I have found that it has really helped to develop my BSL skills further, with more specific vocabulary and grammar, as well as more one-to-one practice with other people to try to get my signing more precise.

Overall, my experience with Zebra Access has been overwhelmingly positive. Although I have had to really challenge myself at times, I have found that it has developed me personally, as well as drastically improving my BSL skills and awareness. I am planning on continuing helping out where I can in the future, and I would highly recommend Zebra Access to anyone looking to improve their BSL skills in a fun and friendly environment.

We really enjoyed having Jessica with us and wish her all the best in her school career.

If you are interested in doing a work placement with Zebra Access,

please contact Sean Noone, our Community Development Officer at


Zebra Access CIO provides services and support to Deaf, Deaf Blind and Hard of Hearing people with thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund. Services includes Employment Services, English/Maths tutorials, Advocacy, Community Development, BSL/Deaf Awareness, drop-in sessions dealing with a range of queries, complaints, form filling, and many more. Zebra Access staff and volunteers have the right to work in a safe and abuse free environment. The organisation will not tolerate any kind of abuse against its staff, volunteers or property.

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'We are hosting a workshop/drop-in sessions for people unsure about their #technology skills. Watch the video with… @ZebraAccess