Communication support worker apprenticeships - where to start
You can get into this job through
a university coursea college courseworking towards this roletraining with a professional body
You can do a British Sign Language and deaf studies degree, although it's not essential. You'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and 2 to 3 A-Levels, or equivalent.
You can do a college qualification like:
You'll be expected to have a Level 2 sign language qualification to get onto one of these courses.
You can do further qualifications at higher levels once you start work.
- Level 3 Award In Signing and Receiving Skills in British Sign Language
- Level 3 Certificate in British Sign Language Studies
- Level 3 Certificate in Communication Support for Deaf Learners
Entry requirements for these courses vary.
You may be able to find a job as an assistant communication support worker and complete your qualifications while working.
Experience of working or volunteering with children with deafness or hearing loss will be useful.
You can do sign language training through organisations like Signature, which also offers a Certificate in Learning Support for Communication Support Workers.
Communication support worker apprenticeships - what it takes
Skills and knowledge
- sensitivity and understanding
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to enjoy working with other people
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- to be flexible and open to change
- excellent verbal communication skills
- knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
- knowledge of psychology
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and Requirements
You'll need to pass enhanced background checks
Communication support worker apprenticeships - what you'll do
In this role you could:
- assess the needs of learners
- help students communicate with others in class
- support learners by lipspeaking and notetaking
- interpret between spoken English and BSL
- adapt learning materials to match learners' interests
- use different ways to help people understand what is required in class
- help learners produce written work
- support students to share their learning needs with teachers
- build relationships with learners, their families, and other professionals
- support learners to become more independent
- provide deaf-awareness training for other staff and students
- give advice to staff on how to improve the learning environment or communication methods with deaf learners
You could work at a school, at a special needs school, at a college or at a university.
Career path and progression - Communication support worker apprenticeships
With experience, you could move into a management position within sensory impairment or disability services. With further training, you could progress to become a sign language interpreter, a disability adviser or a teacher for deaf students.
There are some opportunities to use sign language skills in theatre, television, multimedia production and courts of law. Signers are sometimes booked to interpret in interviews.