• Louise Lever

Transitioning from Administration to CSW

4 months ago, I began my exciting transition from Administration and BSL Support at the Deaf Umbrella office to a CSW, out in the field.

But first… I’ll tell you how I started with the company!

My journey with Deaf Umbrella began in September 2015 after visiting the website, I decided to apply for a voluntary position at the company… to my pleasant surprise, I was offered a role as administration and BSL support for the Deaf Umbrella CIC programme - supporting Deaf people into work! Having a keen interest in British Sign Language and Deaf culture… I jumped at the chance!

I have always been drawn to the beautiful, expressive language of sign, and knew that this could help me to expand my skills and gain much needed experience as well as keeping my useful administrative skills!

The office role was the perfect mixture of sign and admin and I really enjoyed working with the team, a mixture of both Deaf and hearing staff.

To start with my role was mainly administrative; booking Deaf clients for our Pre-Employment course, contacting job centres and sending weekly Newsletters to name a few. However, over time, as my skills improved, I was entrusted with voicing over Course presentations and discussions, communicating more with Deaf clients, interpreting phone calls and conducting practice job interviews.

Over time, my passion for British Sign Language and working with Deaf people continued to grow and I knew I wanted to become a CSW!

I discussed this with my boss Rachel, who was extremely supportive and I was given relevant training to support me in my transition from the office to CSW!

After being given my first assignment, I was excited! … However, previously, I have always worked in office environments, so I was nervous to be entering a completely new environment on my own and building a rapport with the client and other staff members, as well as hoping my BSL skills would be up to scratch!

At the outset, there was a lot to get used to about the change, I am not a naturally organised person, so arranging travel plans and looking up job assignments before jobs took some adjusting to. As well as working in 2, 3 or more different places a week! However, 4 months later I have a much broader knowledge of Public Transport in London and have become more adaptable in different settings as a person!

For me, the best thing about working as a CSW is that every day is different, I am always travelling to different places and meeting new people. You never know where your next assignment will be, whether it be supporting a client in a carpentry course, a warehouse, garage, salon. It could be anything; and the satisfaction of support Deaf clients to achieve their potential is second to none.



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