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VEC leads the way with the Communication Access Symbol UK

Enabling shops and businesses to improve communication with customers who have communication disabilities is the goal of a new rating scheme – with Victoria Education Centre as an ‘early adopter’ of the project.

Before current social restrictions, students got involved in the Communication Access Symbol UK by visiting local shops, cafes and pubs as ‘mystery shoppers’,  to rate them for the level of communication support given. Supported by VEC staff, students can also be involved in training the organisations’ staff.

VEC has been commended by the scheme’s coordinator, Cathy Harris: ‘This is such a good example of using CAUK creatively in an educational organisation.’ CAUK is endorsed by leading disability charities and business organisations, including Headway and the Business Disability Forum.

The scheme uses a ‘TALK’ prompt for better communication:

      • Time
      • Ask what helps
      • Listen and Look
      • Keep trying

Those who reach CAUK’s communication skill standards – like VEC – are awarded the scheme’s dark blue symbol. ‘Communication support is a customer’s right, and this scheme will really help to improve things for disabled people and for the businesses themselves,’ says Sarah Gilling, VEC’s Interim Head of Therapies. ‘Students are very invested in taking part in this and have given us feedback on how much they enjoyed being involved, with comments including “People need to look at me and not my carer”.’

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