Communication Support Worker (CSW)

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Communication Support Workers (CSWs) are hearing people (non-deaf people) who have at least Level 3 BSL skills (B1 or A Level standard). They may or may not also hold the Signature Level 3 Certificate in Communication Support for Deaf Learners. CSWs are not trained interpreters and have not received the extensive and specialist training required to become a Registered Sign Language Interpreter (RSLI). CSWs may have a high level of BSL proficiency, but due to lack of formal training and certification in interpreting and translation they must never be used as a replacement for professional BSL/English interpreting services.

CSWs work mostly in educational settings and may also work in employment settings to provide informal office support for deaf members of staff. CSWs facilitate and broker communication between an English speaker and a BSL user on an informal basis or as in-class support.

Educational CSWs

Educational CSWs form the majority of CSWs and work mostly in schools, colleges and universities. They provide BSL support to deaf learners. Usually the deaf learner will have additional aids to help them to access the lecture or class, e.g. hearing aids or cochlear implant. The role of the CSW is to provide additional support using BSL or Signed Supported English (SSE).

Office Support

Sometimes CSWs may be required to provide informal BSL support for deaf members of staff, e.g. to communicate with colleagues who don't know BSL on an informal basis in the office, or to keep the deaf member of staff informed of any updates/announcements. However, certified BSL/English interpreters may be required for more complex situations, e.g. staff meetings or training sessions.

We provide CSWs according to the needs of the client and service user. All of our CSWs hold at least the Level 3 Certificate in British Sign Language qualification (usually a higher level qualification) and they may also hold the Level 3 Certificate in Communication Support for Deaf Learners qualification if working in educational settings.

If you are unsure whether a CSW would be suitable for your needs, please contact us for a free consultation.

Communication Support Worker (CSW)