Nothing should get in the way of upskilling your staff. Deaf Aotearoa made sure workplace training is accessible to their staff.

Deaf Aotearoa is a national organisation representing the voice of Deaf people. They’re the national service provider for Deaf people in New Zealand.  Deaf Aotearoa put 38 of their staff, located in 14 offices across New Zealand, into training. They have overcome the distance barrier and are set to overcome more.

Read: Breaking the Distance Barrier to Training

How Deaf Aotearoa made workplace training accessible

Of the 38 trainees put on training, 26 were Deaf. Their first language is New Zealand Sign Language. English is their second language. After speaking to the team at Deaf Aotearoa, here are some tips on how they ensured training is made accessible.

Deaf Aotearoa Staff


  1. Respect their first language.

“For a lot of our staff, English is actually their second language. Being of Deaf background and Deaf culture, New Zealand Sign Language is what they are brought up with and what they have learned,” explains Kieran Pabla, HR and Training Administrator at Deaf Aoteroa.

They recognised that accessing learning resources and assessments may be a challenge for some of their staff.

“We adapted the training materials that Careerforce provided for us and made it more accessible for our staff in their preferred language,” Kieran shares.

Kayte Shaw, Careerforce Registered Assessor at Deaf Aotearoa, adds, “We made sure that they were learning in their way and were able to express their answers and their responses also in their own language and their way.”

  1. Adjust and be flexible.

Trainees were given the opportunity to submit assessment answers in New Zealand Sign Language. They were not limited to submitting written answers in English. They were allowed the flexibility to express their competency the best way they could. Trainees submitted videos of their answers to their assessor for marking.

“They would embed a link to the video in their assessment. When I received their assessments, I would then go onto the link to view their video. That’s how I assessed their work,” explains Kayte.

  1. Build a good support team.

Having the support of colleagues enriches the training journey even more. Deaf Aotearoa ensured that trainees had the support of their team leaders. Their support team are all fluent in New Zealand Sign Language. They supported the trainees in interpreting the learning materials and assessments written in English. Through Skype, trainees are able to discuss with Kayte using New Zealand Sign Language.

Overcoming challenges as a team is working really well for Deaf Aotearoa. This shows that when everyone is committed, nothing should be a barrier to upskilling your staff.

Read more: Training investment leads to skilled workforce for Deaf Aotearoa

Deaf Aotearoa is determined to keep training. Kieran recommends it to other organisations saying, “Organisations out there that are wanting to take on training and upskill staff, I suggest you do so. It is something you won’t regret. You should know staff or employees in your organisation are your biggest asset and without them you won’t have a business.”

Kieran Pabla and Joy Chambers speak about the difference training has made
and how overcoming the barriers were well worth the effort.


How can we help you?

Contact us to discuss how we can help your organisation break the barriers to training. Give us a call at 0800 277 486 or send us a message at to have a Careerforce Advisor get in touch with you.

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