DEAFinitely Stepping Ahead

– a programme designed to help deaf and hard of hearing students move successfully from school into further education, training or work.

Our Youth team can work with you if you are

  • Deaf or Hard of Hearing
  • Aged 16-21 and have ORS funding
  • planning to leave school in the next two years
  • NZ citizen or have permanent residency
  • Currently living in NZ

What is DEAFinitely Stepping Ahead?

DEAFinitely Stepping Ahead is a programme specifically designed for D/deaf and hard of hearing students in their last year or two of school who are thinking about further education, training or looking for their first job.

If this is you, DEAFinitely Stepping Ahead can help you be sure that your next steps are the right ones by checking you:

  • know all the services available to you and know how to access them;
  • can quickly and easily organise NZSL interpreters and people who can work with you;
  • can easily access Deaf Awareness resources;
  • have strategies for effective communication and are clear about what steps you need to take;
  • can access specific D/deaf-related equipment (new hearing aids, alarm clocks etc) 

so you can be confident, independent and successful in stepping out into the world!

DEAFinitely Stepping Ahead has been developed by a team of D/deaf people at Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand who once had to make the same decisions that you do. It contains all the things we wished we knew before we began our further education, training and jobs as D/deaf people!

We are different! We use our eyes to get all our information, and so have a different way of looking at the world from other people! It’s not better. It’s not worse. It’s just different because we can do everything, but hear – so when we work or study, we have different ways of doing things. We use different ways to make sure we can access the information we need and to check that we can do things. 

We don’t always do it the same way as other people, but we can do it! We can get great jobs and have a great education. With confidence, knowledge and the right resources, nothing can stop us! 

DEAFinitely Stepping Ahead is designed to ensure you have the tools to fully ACCESS the programme you decide to do and so ensure you are just as able to succeed as everybody else! 

It’s free!

It’s available in NZSL, English and Māori and over time, will go online.

If you want other people to work with you, they are welcome to be part of it as well.

All you need to do is fill in the form at the back to register.

We look forward to working with you…

What’s involved?

DEAFinitely Stepping Ahead is a programme built by you, for you.

You get to say how it can be of most use to you. You can base it around any concerns you have about what you want to do. It covers any problems or issues you expect to face and includes your choice of the kind of information you need.

The programme can run from 3-12 months, depending on your choice of content so there’s plenty of time for you, your family, whanau and school to complete each stage.

We team you up with someone you can easily communicate with from Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand. They will then work with you to try and look at those issues and concerns, and organise the things you need to make sure you are as confident as possible by the time you start.

DEAFinitely Stepping Ahead is:

  • built upon our experience of the situations you are likely to have to manage;
  • specifically tailored to what you want do;
  • concentrates on collecting the information, resources and strategies you need;

to give you a jump-start on your road to success!

For example, some of the information you can choose from includes:

  • Deaf Issues
    • Identity
    • Culture
    • NZSL Interpreters
    • Equipment
  • Independence
    • Goals
    • Your rights and responsibilities.
  • Work or Study Options
    • Filling in applications and forms through to preparing a Curriculum Vitae.
    • Interview techniques.
    • Any issues you expect to meet in a chosen area of study or training and specific resources that might be useful to you.
    • Tips on being a successful student, trainee or employee. 
    • Tips on fitting into your new environment.
  • The many community organisations that could be helpful to you
    • Deaf Aotearoa NZ – information and services.
    • Work & Income – what you are entitled to.
    • Workbridge – options available.

Fill in the initial referral form


Post or fax it to the nearest Deaf Aotearoa NZ office


We’ll be in touch to set up a time to meet.


When we meet: 

 bring along your parents / whanau, someone from your school (Special Needs Co-ordinator? your teacher? whoever you choose!), your Teacher of the Deaf or Adviser on Deaf Children, your friend or anyone will support you …
…so everyone knows the overall plan and what your goals are!

When we first meet…

  • Who can you bring?
    • Everyone involved:
    • your parents / whanau,
    • someone from your school (Special Needs Co-ordinator? Your teacher?), your Teacher of the D/deaf or Adviser on D/deaf Children,
    • your friend,
    • whoever you want to …
    • …so everyone knows the overall plan!
  • Where will we meet?
    • wherever you want to
    • at school, home or at your local Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand office.
  • Who will be there?
    • whoever you want to bring and someone you can easily communicate with from Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • What will we talk about?
    • what YOU want to do!
    • Your hopes and dreams – and what you need to make them happen!
  • Then…
    • we agree upon the next steps
    • and fill in an enrolment form so you can start
    • DEAFinitely Stepping Ahead !

Tailoring your DEAFinitely Stepping Ahead programme to your hopes and dreams

Once you are enrolled, we go over everything you can choose from

and agree upon the best ones to suit what you want to explore.

then …

we work out in detail who needs to do what by when to make sure that as a D/deaf person you have the knowledge and the strategies to make your dreams become real


we help you to get the ball rolling and work with you until everything you need is in place.

At the end of the programme

You will:

  • be awarded a Certificate of Completion either at your school or within the community;
  • and receive a testimonial outlining the topics covered.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I don’t have access to a computer at home

You will be able to use a computer at school, in your local public library or in the Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand office

I don’t use NZ Sign Language (NZSL) – is this programme still right for me? 

Yes it certainly is! You will work with someone who you can communicate easily with and you will pick and choose the activities that suit you! You’ll also meet others who have a similar hearing loss as you.

How will you match me with one of your staff members? 

We will focus on getting the best communication-flow happening. If you use NZSL, you will work with someone using sign language. 

If you use only spoken language, you will work with someone you can talk to easily. 

If you use both sign and spoken language, we can match you with someone who will do the same.

I am Māori, do you know anything about working with people who are D/deaf and Māori ??? 

We certainly do, we can connect you with other people who are also Māori  and D/deaf.  We know you have two equally important identities both as a D/deaf person and as a Māori person so we can contact others like you to make sure you have a whanau approach to looking at your future.

Can I still do the programme if I am over 21 or under 16 years of age?

DEAFinitely Stepping Ahead is especially designed for people aged 16-22. If you are older or younger than this, talk to us because there may be other ways we can work with you. We want to see you succeed!

I have literacy issues, can I still do the programme?

Talk to us and we’ll certainly try to make it work!

I have transport issues i.e. can’t drive.

Talk to us and we’ll try and work something out.

Can I bring my Deaf friend?


Your rights…

Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand supports and promotes the NZ Health and Disability Commission Code of Rights and takes pride in the friendly and professional service we offer.

DEAFinitely Stepping Ahead has been especially designed to help you succeed in achieving your goals.

We will treat you with respect and courtesy at all times. This includes respecting your privacy. Any information given to us will be held in confidence and will not be released to any other person or organisation without your written permission.

We will be open and honest with you in working towards the successful completion of the programme. If any changes need to be made to the programme, we will do our best to contact you to discuss them with you and obtain your agreement first because we want to see you succeed!

…and your responsibilities…

We expect the same courtesy, respect, openness and honesty of you, your family/whanau and whoever you want to bring along.

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