About the Project

Welcome to Signs for Handshakes

Come Together: Deaf-Youth-Meets-Employers-Toolkit

Project period: 10/2015 bis 09/2017

SIGNS FOR HANDSHAKES is a 2 year European project with partners from Austria, Bulgaria, U.K. and Slovenia.

The projects aims are:
  • Build and maintain strong links with representatives of the employment sector and the Deaf Community.
  • Offer practical advice for employers on hiring young Deaf people.
  • Increase job-opportunities for young Deaf job-candidates in the regular job market.
  • Increase the understanding of effective methods of alternative communication in the workplace.
  • Strengthen the use of Sign Language in the workplace (basic everyday signs).


Career aspirations of Deaf youngsters do not differ from hearing youngsters: hairdresser, accountant, plumber, waiter/waitress, artist, teacher, nurse, photographer, programmer, web designer etc.! Today, youth unemployment and joblessness is a complex problem all over Europe. This is especially so for young Deaf job seekers, for them entry into the regular job market is full of obstacles.

How to communicate!?

…is the first question, when employers become aware, that the young job applicant is Deaf? In fact, there are many ways that Deaf and hearing people can communicate with each other and work together very well. The first requirement is that both sides are open to each others needs.

Impact Envisaged

  • increased employment of young Deaf people,
  • improved communication between employers, Deaf workers and their hearing colleagues
  • better awareness of Deaf culture and Sign Language in the workplace

Overview about our activities

Deaf People at Work: Role Models

Deaf people are hardly visible in our society. To shine a spotlight on Deaf people and their work situations is the best and most effective way to build Deaf Awareness, and especially “Deafness at Work” to the employment sector.

Portraits and reports about the Deaf at work, give helpful tips for employers who aren’t familiar with issues about the inclusion of Deaf individuals in their companies or institutions. The portraits are also enriching and motivational for Deaf youngsters to get first hand information about real work experience from their peers.


“Nothing about us – without us”: the participation of young Deaf people themselves is used to address Deaf Awareness- and communication activities to the employment sector. It is crucial that they are visible with their own language, their potentials and expressions.

Deaf youngsters show important sign and communication tips to make the everyday cooperation between hearing and Deaf colleagues easier. For example, how to say “good morning”, “what’s your name”, “how are you”. Many of these phrases are quick and easy to learn and allow an easy start in to Sign Language communication.

Aktive Networking

Networking with organisations in the employment sector and for the Deaf Community is essential to build sustainable bridges to work for the young Deafs’ entry in the regular job market and is a major part of the project. SIGNS FOR HANDSHAKES is establishing a NETWORKING MAP with organisations and companies that promote and support the Deaf-friendly workplace.

Encounter and Dialogue: Workshops

The project provides workshops and training for companies and organisations to raise Deaf Awareness and overcome communication barriers. The workshops will be designed with a full range of video-based material, created by young Deaf people. The training events will bring together participants from all the target groups: representatives of the employment sector as well as young Deaf.

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