They are driven, young and deaf. They came in droves to explore the power of possibility

Young deaf people can do anything, except hear. That was the driving message behind BDA Northern Ireland’s innovative new careers event, “Taste Your Future,” that took place earlier this month at Queen’s University, Belfast.

Forming part of the Deaf Roots and Pride Project – a three year project funded by the Big Lottery Fund – the event was aimed at young Deaf people who are transitioning both from primary to secondary school, and from secondary school to external environments.

50 young Deaf people met Deaf professionals working in a range of fields including law, nursing, teaching, floristry, architecture, sports coaching, dog grooming, film-making, beauty therapy, plumbing, amongst many others.

The hands-on workshops meant young participants could get a taste of a range of careers, inspiring them to think about their own career choices and the subjects required for those career pathways, such as choosing subjects for GCSEs and A Levels. It allowed young people to find out how their role models coped at university/college and later in the workplace and how they went on overcoming barriers to achieve great success.

John, 16 said: “I enjoyed learning a lot about these careers, as well as knowing that deaf and hard of hearing people have managed to achieve such opportunities; there’s always a way!”

Delighted parent: “I think my son arrived not expecting much, but he got much more out of it than he thought he would!”

For Mark, 19: “The highlight of the event was learning about architecture and plumbing.”

Deaf young adults were initially reluctant to participate in BSL taster sessions, but after they gradually took part they became hooked. They left wanting to learn BSL!

The day would not have been possible without Julie Graham, BDA’s Transitions Officer – helping break down barriers with educational establishments – and the many Dead professionals who volunteered their time.


Come along to “Outside the Box” – a short practical session aimed at all Deaf / hard of hearing young people between the ages of 15-21 who are thinking of going to college or university this year. Not only will you find out more about the different types of support available to you during your studies – you will get to road-test them to see what suits you best!

When: 25 March from 4pm to 6pm. Where: MTS Sulby, Holywood, County Down. Find out more: Email Julie Graham, Transitions Officer: or call: 028 90 437 483.

Published in BDN March 2015 issue