National Week of Deaf People: Nicholas's Story

As an Administration Assistant Trainee, Nicholas Steer is using Expression Australia’s Deaf friendly workspace to his advantage as he studies for a Certificate IV in Business at Expression Employment.

For Deaf and hard of hearing people, there are not many workplaces that are Deaf friendly or where they work with colleagues who are also Deaf or bilingual and can use Australian Sign Language (Auslan). However, Expression Australia is different in that it is proud to be a bilingual and bicultural workplace, which allows people like Nicholas to thrive.

“Working in a Deaf friendly environment is extremely helpful for me in all aspects of my studies and work,” Nicholas said. “My colleagues keep an open mind and make sure I am included in conversations by using Auslan and ensuring that I understand.”

Nicholas acknowledges that hearing people and society may not be aware of the barriers that Deaf people face every day. This is why Nicholas has been involved in the Deafhood team in the YMCA Youth Parliament, where he has been advocating for better access for Deaf and hard of hearing people in society.

“The Deafhood team proposed a bill for captioning to be more readily available in Cinemas, which eliminates a barrier that Deaf and hard of hearing people face when going to the cinema to enjoy the latest blockbuster movie.” Nicholas stated.

Despite his youth, Nicholas discovered his Deaf identity in the later years of school as he was exposed to Auslan through friends and Deaf events. He now feels comfortable and has developed a strong passion working and advocating for the Deaf community.

As Expression Australia celebrates National Week of Deaf People (23 – 29 September), Nicholas believes that everyone has barriers in their lives, but some are just more visible than others.

“I feel included and I have never viewed my deafness as a disadvantage. I believe that anyone can contribute to society, regardless of what barriers they have.”

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