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Background and More

We aim to deliver training that will result in real changes being made for real people.

"After the trauma of losing my hearing I want to train, educate and encourage service providers to consider disability and the needs of disabled people. In many cases it is a question of changing attitudes to change behaviour – we encourage a positive attitude towards disability."

HearFirst was established in Lancashire in 2002 by Julie Ryder, initially, to deliver deaf awareness training to front line staff in organisations.

The following year HearFirst expanded the product range to offer disability equality and awareness training and deafblind awareness training. HearFirst sourced specialist tutors to write and deliver the new courses and the training was marketed further afield, throughout the UK.

The same pattern has continued since then and we've grown up into an award winning organisation delivering training on broader aspects of Diversity and Equality. We now offer the wide range of courses you see today being delivered by our own specialist team of tutors.

I feel everyone had a very positive experience from the training last week and i'll certainly recommend you if anyone else requests training or we have new starters on the team. Caroline Ward, BBC Media City

Why we're called HearFirst?

HearFirst might seem a strange name for a deaf led organisation. The reason for our name is twofold:

  1. Julie Ryder (Founder and Director) was born hearing and then became deaf in her 20's. She's now profoundly deaf and uses a cochlear implant. She could hear first!

  2. When HearFirst started in 2002 we didn't know any other organisations doing training like ours in the way we do it. We were literally here first.

Our clients

We work throughout the UK with many sectors e.g. NHS, Museums, Housing, Education etc. We often tailor training and develop sessions to meet the specific aims of our clients. You can see a selection of who we've been working with and where on our case studies page.

Sometimes our successes even hit the headlines – view our news page. If you need additional information or references just let us know.

Also just wanted to say that the training you delivered was really interesting and useful for all of us that attended the session. Personally it has really helped me build on the relationship with A and the training has equipped me to have more confidence to advocate on A's behalf with other services. I supported A to an appointment to view a new flat with a housing officer. I was able to act as an advocate and helped A get the information he needed to make a decision whether to accept the tenancy. Chris, Petrus Community


EVA Awards: Best Training and Coaching Business 2013/14
Rossendale Business Awards 2013: Highly Commended Valley at Work Award and Best Micro Business
Specsavers Sound Barrier Awards 2009 National Finalist
Barclays Trading Places Awards Regional Winner 2008
Stelios Award Runner up Disabled Entrepreneur of the Year 2007


Investors in People
Positive about Disabilities
Registered Centre with awarding body Signature
Skills Pledge
UK Register of Learner Providers


HearFirst Diversity and Equality Training
HearFirst Diversity and Equality Training