HEART partnered with the Deaf Education Advocacy Fellowship (DEAF) to deliver a series of road shows and a campus event. The campus event took place at University of Leeds on Tuesday 6th November and was a huge success with students coming from Bradford College, Bolton College, Wakefield College, Leeds City College, Hanson Academy, Allerton Grange High School and the Communication Specialist College.
Esmail Patel (founder of DEAF) welcomed all students and staff members who participated in the event. The HEART Manager, Ian McGregor Brown, welcomed partners and students, explained the outline for the event and discussed HEART’s role and how HEART can help provide information and support when needed.
The first partner presentation came from Bradford College & University of Bradford in which Nicola Storey and Helena Jones discussed the disability support that is available to all D/deaf students. Support ranged from disability advisors, BSL interpreters, note takers, English language support and examination adjustments. The presentation finished with detailed information when applying for disability student allowances (DSA).
Deborah Laing (University of Huddersfield) followed and discussed career opportunities and employability, showing the importance of being engaged within your chosen course but also to the opportunities provided by the university. Deborah encouraged students to obtain as much work experience as possible by discussing the volunteering opportunities available and how to make the most of the career services that are available to all students. Students then had an opportunity during a refreshment break to communicate and network with each university.
After the refreshment break, Charlie Hopper (Leeds University Union) provided an interactive and engaging presentation explaining the role of the union and the activities and societies available to boost confidence and to meet new people with similar interests.
An informative presentation by Helen Sykes (University of Leeds) then discussed Student finance, the terminology used and the procedure when applying for student finance. Helen provided specific examples of the additional financial support packages offered by the University of Leeds and recommended students to check with their selected universities/colleges what additional financial support they might offer.
A question and answer session followed the presentations chaired by Esmail Patel who was delighted with the quality of the questions asked and the courage and confidence the students had to stand on stage and communicate with the panel.
After the Q&A session students were directed to the refectory for lunch. Students were provided opportunities to communicate with the presenters and ask any further questions on a one-to-one basis. After lunch, students split into groups and were guided around the University on a Campus tour led by the student hosts. Students were shown key aspects of the campus, the facilities available gaining a glimpse of student life.
After the campus tour, two inspirational presentations from Raabia and Maab, deaf students studying at Leeds Beckett University and University of Huddersfield were delivered, discussing the barriers that they faced and how to overcome them. Both Raabia and Maab stressed that despite some additional barriers caused by being deaf that they are both fully engaged in university life, have boosted their confidence, are changing perceptions of their fellow students and gaining great benefit from their studies.
After the presentations, students were again given the opportunity to ask further questions to the panel and deaf role models. The final part of the day allowed students to walk around the lecture theatre, obtain materials provided by the partners and to discuss courses, requirements and support services. Many students took this opportunity to further develop their understanding of the support available and to discuss specific requirements for particular courses.
The incredible positive vibe and enthusiasm from the students were displayed throughout the whole day, with all students feeling the day was very informative and useful. Students had a clearer idea of what they needed to do to go to university and how they needed to improve. The majority of students indicated that they definitely want to go to university having taken part in the event and being presented with a glimpse of student life.
HEART thanks all those partners involved in the campus event and the student hosts for providing invaluable support throughout the day. We also thank DEAF for delivering the road shows and coordinating all recruitment and the interpreters and palantypist, but most importantly, a big thank you to all the students that took the time to participate in the event.