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The deafConnectEd program is intended to create fair educational opportunities and outcomes. It is for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students undertaking study in the VET sector.

The deafConnectEd program is intended to create equitable educational opportunities and outcomes for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) students undertaking study in the VET sector. deafConnectEd does this by providing support, information and linkage services to current and future students, teachers and trainers, interpreters and notetakers in the education sector.


The department funds dCE to support the priorities of the Victorian Government’s Education State initiative. The Education State strives to improve outcomes for young people and adult learners in Victoria by developing excellence and reducing the impacts of disadvantage on their professional pathways. This initiative is a priority of the department, which the dCE program has a key role in developing.

The purpose of dCE is to support and improve educational pathways for DHH learners in the VET sector

dCE performs a range of activities such as developing education solutions that enhance inclusion, fostering participation through industry and building community partnerships with education providers, support staff, students, families and community organisations. These activities involve community voices by working closely with Expression Australia, Melbourne Polytechnic, Auslan Consultancy and a range of industry partners.

What services are available from deafConnectEd – Core Services?

dCE provides a range of informational and support services. These services include:

  • Supporting Disability Liaison Officers working with DHH learners;
  • Providing information and support to DHH learner pathways and support workers;
  • Providing information and skills development opportunities to notetakers;
  • Develop and implement a careers and pathways strategy to support DHH students seeking to train in the VET sector;
  • Providing deafness awareness training for VET sector staff; and
  • Supporting TAFEs with delivery of education and training courses for Auslan users

Who are deafConnectEd services for?

dCE core services are readily available for the following groups:

  • Future DHH learners;
  • Current DHH learners;
  • DLOs working with DHH learners;
  • TAFEs and Learn Local Registered Training Organisations (RTO);
  • TAFE and RTO teachers and trainers, including numeracy and literacy support staff; and
  • Auslan interpreters and notetakers.
  • Relevant stakeholders engaged with the DHH community through dCE governance structures and activities, along with relevant Departmental staff including Skills and Jobs Centres

What other services and opportunities are linked to deafConnectEd?

dCE connects DHH learners and supporting professionals to a range of education, training and support initiatives in Victoria. Key organisations and initiatives supporting DHH learner pathways include Expression Australia, the Educational Signbank and the Melbourne Polytechnic Auslan Training Program.

  • Expression Australia is a non-profit organisation created by and for members of the DHH community to empower people who are deaf, hard of hearing or LGBTIQA+ to overcome barriers in life and choose their pathway.

    Expression Australia provides a complete interpreting service called Auslan Connections. Auslan Connections links DHH peoples and supporting professionals to Auslan interpreting, notetaking, captioning, transcription and translation services.

    Expression Australia has strong links to the community and industry and a longstanding commitment to supporting interpreters towards meeting the needs of DHH communities.

    Expression Australia are a key partner under dCE, providing a range of services and support to DHH community members across Victoria and in Tasmania.

    Expression Australia services include:

    • Introductory courses in Auslan, including programs for children;
    • Deaf awareness training for businesses and VET providers;
    • Interpreting and captioning services;
    • Links to education and employment services;
    • NDIS assistance and coordination support for DHH peoples; and
    • Linkage to the department’s Reconnect program

    For more information, visit the Expression Australia websiteExternal Link .

What is deafConnectEd – Educational Signbank?

Auslan Signbank is the language resources site for Auslan. The site shows users the following information:

  • A comprehensive Auslan dictionary;
  • Videos of DHH people using and demonstrating Auslan signs;
  • Information on the DHH community in Australia;
  • Links to Auslan classes and other learning resources; and
  • Auslan signs relating to education and teaching topics, featured in the Educational Signbank

dCE has connected with industry partners to develop the Educational Signbank, which expands on the educational resources and signs already available. The department provided dCE with a grant to expand the Educational Signbank with a focus on VET sector development.

Alignment and responsiveness to evolving government priorities have informed the focus of the previous Signbank recommendations and have included the following areas as they relate to VET:

  • Hospitality, language and literacy and occupational health and safety;
  • Automotive industry (in partnership with the Victorian College for the DeafExternal Link ;
  • National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS);
  • Family violence;
  • Free TAFE initiative; and
  • Student health and wellbeing, including mental health, emergency health announcements, COVID-19 and supporting neurodiversity in the educational context

For more information, visit the Educational Signbank website or the Auslan Signbank website.

Where can I learn Auslan?

  • Melbourne Polytechnic is Victoria’s sole provider of several professionally recognised and accredited Auslan training courses. These courses provide professional pathways and the necessary prerequisites needed to partake in Auslan interpreter training.

    Auslan training courses teach advanced signing skills as well as cultural and historical knowledge of the Deaf community. Courses are taught and both Prahran and Preston campuses. All courses include a multi-modal delivery with face-to-face teaching and online video conferencing.

    The department provided Melbourne Polytechnic with a grant in 2019 to deliver several essential projects at the time. The Auslan Training Program was among such essential projects.

    Melbourne Polytechnic offers accredited Auslan VET courses at several certificate levels, including:

    • Certificate II of Auslan
    • Certificate III of Auslan
    • Certificate IV of Auslan
    • Diploma of Auslan

    How to apply:

    Future students can apply for their chosen Auslan VET course by completing the Melbourne Polytechnic course application formExternal Link .


    No formal prerequisites are required for the Certificate II of Auslan. Prospective students must attend a mandatory Information Session at Melbourne Polytechnic, where interviews will be conducted thereafter.

    For more information, visit the Melbourne Polytechnic Auslan Training websiteExternal Link .

Where can I study Auslan Interpreter and translation courses?

  • The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University) is the sole Victorian institution that delivers courses endorsed by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). NAATI endorsed courses lead to nationally accredited qualifications and vocational pathways in Auslan interpreting and translation.

    RMIT University’s NAATI endorsed Auslan courses equip students with the skills and knowledge required for general Auslan dialogue and monologue settings, as well as applied learning of professional ethics and industry knowledge. These are essential skills for learners seeking a vocational pathway into Auslan interpreting or translation.

    RMIT University offers NAATI endorsed Auslan courses at several Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) levels, including:

    • Diploma of Interpreting;
    • Advanced Diploma of Interpreting; and
    • Graduate Diploma in Translating and Interpreting

    How to Apply:

    Future students can apply for their chosen NAATI endorsed Auslan course by completing the RMIT University course application formExternal Link .


    To enrol in the Diploma applicants must successfully pass an interview in Auslan and Non-conventional sign language (NCSL), in which the applicant will be asked to demonstrate receptive (sight) comprehension skills, and appropriate sign production and articulation skills.

    Learners interested in the Advanced Diploma of Interpreting must meet the following prerequisites:

    • Have successfully completed Australian Year 12 or equivalent senior secondary school studies or an RMIT Foundation Skills program; or
    • Have successfully completed the Interpreting Skills for NAATI Certification, Translating Skills for NAATI Certification or Translating and Interpreting Skills for NAATI Certification; or
    • Have successfully completed a Diploma of Interpreting, Diploma of Translating or equivalent in a related field; or
    • Hold a NAATI certification at Certified Provisional Interpreter, Recognised Practicing Interpreter or Certified Translator level or higher; or
    • Hold at least 2 years of documented work experience as an interpreter or a translator; and
    • Undertake a Bilingual Intake Test

    Learners interested in the Graduate Diploma in Translating and Interpreting must meet the following criteria:

    Have completed a Bachelor-level degree (e.g., Bachelor of International Studies (Languages)) in any discipline.

    For more information visit the RMIT University NAATI endorsed courses webpage hereExternal Link .


Department of Education and Training

To find out more, contact

Reconnect 2021 – 2024


Phone: (03) 9269 8306
SMS: 0427 429 968

Expression Australia

Phone: 1300 780 225
SMS: 0402 217 586

Expression Australia branches listed hereExternal Link .

RMIT University

Phone: (03) 9925 2000
Contact us - RMIT UniversityExternal Link

Reviewed 19 July 2022

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