A GROUP of city factory workers have been learning sign language to allow them to communicate with their deaf colleagues.

Window factory staff at RSBi, the manufacturing arm of City Building, are being taught British Sign Language as part of a new national scheme to boost opportunities for deaf people.

The Scottish Government scheme, the first of its kind, aims to make Scotland the most inclusive place for BSL users to work, live and visit.

Royal Strathclyde Blind Industry got involved by enlisting the help of non-hearing BSL approved employee Mark McGowan to teach classes at its window factory in Queenslie.

The lessons have been running since October and the firm says they have increased day-to-day communication among workmates creating a more happy and confident team.

The Queenslie factory was set up in 2014 to create jobs for unemployed military veterans and more than half the 260 employees have a disability including hearing and visual impairments.

RSBi executive director Graham Paterson said: "When our team at the window factory heard about the national BSL plan they felt it was a good opportunity to learn more about sign language and improve communications with their colleagues who have hearing loss.

"The lessons have been a big success. The confidence of hearing staff has improved as they have the means to communicate with deaf colleagues and those with hearing loss feel more included. It's been a great boost for all the staff."

Mr McGowan said it was great to be part of a company which ensured all staff are treated equally.

He added: "My workmates are now able to understand me better and it is great to see them improve their BSL week to week.

"My dream for Scotland's future is that BSL is integrated into children's education so these skills can be carried with them for the rest of their lives, meaning when they do meet deaf people they are able to communicate."