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Last week staff from Vantage Hyundai took part in a deaf awareness workshop held at Hyundai Stockport. The aim of the day was for Vantage staff to get an introduction to basic sign language, so that they could welcome deaf customers.

The class was originally arranged after a deaf customer came into the showroom a couple of months ago and unfortunately the sales process was a little complicated. It highlighted to Centre Principal Paul Sharp that it would be nice to be able to communicate with basic sign language rather then just hand gestures and notes.

The sign workshop was run Lorri Wilson, a British Sign Language (BSL) Level 6 qualified tutor. She worked with Paul Sharp to organise an engaging lesson for staff from across the company, after being amazed herself at the high level of customer service she had received when buying a Hyundai at the dealership. Lorri and Paul wanted to help ensure the centre was able to provide this level of service to all their customers.

Lorri started off the day with a room full of sign language novices, giving a talk about the misconceptions people have about being deaf. Then the hard job started, teaching the group some basic sign language. As with learning anything some people picked it up straight away, while others struggled, but soon everyone was signing the alphabet, greetings and colours.

By the end of the afternoon, there was enough knowledge to have a basic conversation, but everyone realised how much there was to learn. Everyone who attended the session was shocked to learn that sign language isn't universal, that there are variations between different regions, just like accents.

Lorri, was a very patient teacher, and she herself was extremely complimentary about all the efforts of the team 'I'm amazed at how quickly the team picked up sign language in a short space of time. They have a genuine desire to be more deaf aware'