Companies spend a significant amount of money on developing staff, whether it is on team-building away days, attending conferences or enhancing technical skills such as coding languages.

Part of the budget should go towards honing soft skills to nurture a positive culture among the workforce. While traditional forms of training might

involve presentations, role-plays and task-based problem-solving, companies may not have considered basic sign language as a means of complementing the existing

training provision. Yet, there are ample reasons to support implementing Basic Sign Language training as part of your staff’s ongoing professional development due to following reasons:


1 Your customers will thank you

There is a lot of buzz around the area of customer experience. While many Managers are busy mapping customer interactions and implementing email automation,

there are people who will find it harder to access your perfectly designed customer journey. If your team members are able to understand the barriers and

communicate with a hard of hearing or deaf customer, that person will gain a positive experience of your company. You benefit from increased customer opportunities

and accessing a new market by understanding how to make your promotions and offers more accessible leading to increased sales.


2 Your workforce will be more inclusive

If someone joins the team who is hard of hearing or deaf and communicates in sign language, they will feel more included if staff have some knowledge in sign language. The team will also feel more confident in approaching their deaf teammate.


3 Supporting each other

If you include sign language training as part of your workplace development programme, it could be fun to foster a “sign language only” hour in the afternoon where those who need to speak to each other can sign. This will give hearing members of staff the chance to practise their new skills with each other and deaf colleagues the opportunity to offer support and be more fully involved in their team’s development.


4 A chance to develop empathy

One of the most important soft skills you can adopt in the workplace is empathy. Learning sign language or any other language is a fast track to becoming

more empathic. As a language learner, the struggles that come with not being able to communicate fluently mean you experience a sense of humility. This

means that, if someone joins the team whose first language is not English, co-workers will know to adapt their speech and gesturing to help the newcomer

understand better.


5 Improving non-verbal communication skills

Have you ever sat through a boardroom meeting, asked your colleagues how they felt it went and realised that everyone present has a completely different?

impression of what actually happened? Deciphering those all-important non-verbal signals can be frustrating. Being able to read another’s body language

helps you know your next move in a business situation, so honing those skills is vital for a successful outcome. Learning sign language, your team will

improve their ability to pick up on non-verbal cues and will therefore become a better asset in the boardroom or on the sales floor.


These are just a few great reasons to implement Basic Sign Language training among the staff members in the companies.

The first group successfully completed the Basic Sign Language training conducted by The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Training & Disability Resource Centre in September 2019. The training was conducted by Ms. Chammi Dias.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Chammi, Manique and the participants.

2 Group photograph.

3 Participants.

4 Participants.

5 Participants.


Manique Gunaratne



The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre together with Dialog Axiata PLC supported hard of hearing persons to hear well through a mobile app in September 2019. EFC hard of hearing trainees were thrilled with joy when they could hear well through this mobile app instead of the hearing aid. This mobile app will support them to to enhance their employability skills and improve their educational level.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Ashan, Lawanath and Nithila testing the mobile app.

2 Chanaka and the group testing the mobile app.

3 Group of hard of hearing persons together with EFC and Dialog team.

4 Irupan, Nimesha, Malki and Pubudini testing the mobile app.

5 Tharusha explaining the app to Irfan.

6 University under-graduates testing the app.

7 Hard of hearing under-graduates testing the app.

8 Tharusha explaining the advantages of the mobile app.

9 Manique and Tharusha with Irfan and Pubudini.

Manique Gunaratne

Mobile – 0094779571918


Intermart Company provided an Internship opportunity to a hearing impaired graphic designer in September 2019. This hearing impaired EFC trainee has completed the Graphic Designing course at the VTA. The Internship will assist her to get the NVQ Level certificate.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Ms. Sansani Kavindya at work.

2 Ms. Sansani enjoying work.


Manique Gunaratne

Fax – 0094112867946



Ms. Manique Gunaratne sensitized persons with disabilities in Kaduwela Divisional Secretariat area on facilities provided by The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre. The programme was organized by the Social Service Officer of the Kaduwela Divisional Secretariat in September 2019. It was a great opportunity for persons with disabilities because lack of information is a huge barrier for them to come in life.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Manique conducting the session.

2 Participants.

Manique Gunaratne

Sub Committee Member of Policy Development Unit of Prime Minister’s Office on Vocational, Technical Training and Employment Focusing on Persons with Disabilities