TFN: So what does a Money Matters adviser do?
Kaz: I support deaf sign language users throughout Scotland. A lot of the work is around welfare reform and the changes to benefits, so I use sign language to answer the concerns people have and help them with application forms.
TFN: What do you like best about your job?
Kaz: I enjoy using sign language and overcoming the challenges of it. It’s very satisfying as people come in very worried and you’re able to resolve it for them.
TFN: How long have you been working here for?
Kaz: Money Matters is a new project, which started in January, but I have worked for Deaf Action for six years.
TFN: How did you start working at Deaf Action?
Kaz: I did a British Sign Language interpreting course when I was approaching my 40th birthday as I just wanted to do something a bit different. I then wrote to the director of Deaf Action asking if I could volunteer and they offered me a two-month job organising events for deaf people – that was six years ago.
I’d like to think it says I’m organised but I think I am the only one that knows where things are
TFN: Was it easy learning sign language?
Kaz: Not at all. I thought I would learn in six months, that was sheer ignorance.
TFN: So how do you manage to communicate with deaf people who can't come into the office?
Kaz: I visit people who live in Edinburgh and the Lothians and use a webcam to sign with people from further using Skype or ooVoo. I also often FaceTime them on the iPad.
TFN: Technology advances must really be useful for deaf people?
Kaz: Absolutely. Now we have mobile phones and we can text, people can have instant conversations with their friends and go on the iPad and have signed conversations.
TFN: Looking at your desk it's not too messy, but it could be tidier?
Kaz: I’ve got bundles that I tidy into, but it’s never a clear desk. I’d like to think it says I’m organised but I think I am the only one that knows where things are.
TFN: I can't help but notice you have a John Wayne clock and a mug. Are you a big fan?
Kaz: My colleagues got me the clock for a joke as I told them I do my ironing to John Wayne DVDs.
TFN: Really, why John Wayne?
Kaz: You just have to switch off when ironing and I quite like him – he is John Wayne in every single film and doesn’t do things differently.
TFN: Fair enough. Lastly, what would make a better world for you in your work?
Kaz: I would love it if I could just go and see everyone and fill out their forms for them. I'd also like for people to be more deaf aware. The hearing world is in the majority and the majority don’t really concern themselves with minority groups.
Kaz Langlands can be contacted on tel: 0131 652 3209, SMS: 0779 294 1629 and [email protected]