On the 18th of March this year, the West Loddon Mallee Regional Communication Service launched its first localised Easy English training module in Swan Hill. This was followed by another short session where participants could bring their practise documents to share with each other and problem solve together.
Due to the success of our first training session and high public interest, we held a second training session in Mildura on 20th May.
Participants of both sessions came from a wide variety of community organisations including the Local Councils, Private Health clinics, Community Legal Services, Community Support Services, Early Learning Centres, and more.
All reports from attendees were very positive. Participants reported gaining more awareness of the literacy skills of the general community and reported that the statistics were an “eye-opener.” Some also felt they gained an awareness of the fact that how their documents are currently written are “often not fit for the audience”, and that they need to make sure the message that is delivered is actually received.
The groups reported finding the training well balanced, and described it as an “enjoyable, interactive and practical workshop.” Some felt they had gained a skill that will help them to “better engage their clients”.
By the end of the session, some had set high goals for themselves when asked if there was anything they intend to do differently when they return to work as a result of the workshop:
“Re-designing Service Brochure within 2 months”.
“Update Client Services Handbook by June 30 2016”.
Very soon after the first training session in Swan Hill, Sharon and I received great examples of Easy English documents that attendees were working on and requests for pictures to add meaning to their documents. It’s very rewarding to know that the training has made a difference to how the participants intend to communicate with their audiences from now on.
The fact that our community is so willing to take on advice of a different way to convey their messages to the public, a format which looks so different to any they have used in the past, is very encouraging to us as Regional Communication Service practitioners.
Some participants even expressed interest in attending the Communication Inclusion Resource Centre’s two day intensive Easy English Writing Course. It’s reassuring, to know our community is so willing and committed to engaging our members who require accessible information in order to fully participate, and gives us proof of our continually developing “communication friendly” community.
Emma Douglass & Sharon Champion
WLC RCS Speech Pathologists