Deaf Academy builders aim to prove they have the ‘Midas’ touch when it comes to sign language

PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 December 2019

Midas staff, who are constructing a new Deaf Academy in Exmouth, take part in a deaf awareness session, led by British Sign Language tutor and former Deaf Academy student Nikki James. Picture: Theo Moye.

Midas staff, who are constructing a new Deaf Academy in Exmouth, take part in a deaf awareness session, led by British Sign Language tutor and former Deaf Academy student Nikki James. Picture: Theo Moye.

© Theo Moye. All Rights Reserved

The team behind the construction of a multi-million pound Deaf Academy in Exmouth have been going back to school.

Midas staff, who are constructing a new Deaf Academy in Exmouth, take part in a deaf awareness session, led by British Sign Language tutor and former Deaf Academy student Nikki James. Picture: Theo Moye. Midas staff, who are constructing a new Deaf Academy in Exmouth, take part in a deaf awareness session, led by British Sign Language tutor and former Deaf Academy student Nikki James. Picture: Theo Moye.

Staff from Midas Construction returned to the classroom in order to allow them to communicate better with students and staff as they near completion of the build.

The new state-of-the-art home of the Deaf Academy, based at Exmouth's former Rolle College site, is set to open its doors in April 2020.

Some of the Midas Construction staff were taught sign language by British Sign Language (BSL) community officer, and former Deaf Academy student, Nikki James.

Steve McShane, senior project manager at Midas Construction, said: "This was something the team was very keen to do out of respect to the academy and its pupils, not only to enable us to better communicate with people coming to the site, but also as a way of helping us to maintain the safety of visitors.

Midas staff, who are constructing a new Deaf Academy in Exmouth, take part in a deaf awareness session, led by British Sign Language tutor and former Deaf Academy student Nikki James. Picture: Theo Moye. Midas staff, who are constructing a new Deaf Academy in Exmouth, take part in a deaf awareness session, led by British Sign Language tutor and former Deaf Academy student Nikki James. Picture: Theo Moye.

"It has been something which we have all found fascinating and useful and we are very grateful to the academy for taking the time to share an insight into the language which will be used so widely here once the facility is completed."

Deaf Academy marketing officer Nicki McCaskie said: "We're delighted that staff at Midas are interested in learning about deaf awareness and BSL.

"We're excited to introduce Exmouth to the deaf community and culture as part of our move, and it's brilliant that Midas are getting involved.

"BSL is a complex language, but by learning a few signs and thinking about how to improve communication, companies like Midas can really help make the difference when it comes to strengthening links between communities."

Midas staff, who are constructing a new Deaf Academy in Exmouth, take part in a deaf awareness session, led by British Sign Language tutor and former Deaf Academy student Nikki James. Picture: Theo Moye. Midas staff, who are constructing a new Deaf Academy in Exmouth, take part in a deaf awareness session, led by British Sign Language tutor and former Deaf Academy student Nikki James. Picture: Theo Moye.

Trainee site manager Ben Tolan, who is working at Midas on a placement year as part of his degree at the University of Plymouth, said the sessions were 'great fun'.

He said: "It was a different outlook on how to communicate with people in other ways.

"I am definitely going to give sign language a go to speak to students when they next come to visit the site.

"The new Deaf Academy build is a fantastic project and one that the whole team is proud to be part of."


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