Sir Paul Smith To Open Dyslexia Event

22 January 2014

Sir Paul Smith

Sir Paul Smith, patron of the Dyslexia Association, will open the event at the University of Derby.

I hope the event will raise awareness and empower, inspire and motivate dyslexic students, whilst promoting the benefits of inclusive practice to educators and employers.

Sarah Chapman, third-year BA (Hons) Education Studies degree student

Celebrated fashion designer and dyslexic Sir Paul Smith will open a University of Derby event to raise awareness of the condition and promote its positive aspects, organised by a student with the learning disability.

More than 400 people are set to attend the free one-day training event on Tuesday January 28, at the University's main Kedleston Road site in Derby. The day is being run jointly with the Dyslexia Association and its patron, Sir Paul, will open the event.

Dyslexia is a learning disability, affecting around six million people in the UK, which can cause difficulties with reading, spelling and writing. People with dyslexia think and learn differently from others; which can give them critical thinking, problem solving, or creative skills of great value to potential employers.

The event's workshops and speakers will highlight the strengths people with dyslexia can have, how organisations might benefit from these and the need for more dyslexia-friendly employment practices.

Event organiser Sarah Chapman is a third-year BA (Hons) Education Studies degree student specialising in special educational needs and disabilities, who is also dyslexic. She is a former East Midlands' Regional Adult Learners' Week Award winner.

Sarah has organised the event as part of her Futures Award. The certified University of Derby scheme encourages students to work on volunteer projects with charities and other organisations, improving their leadership and management skills, to also improve their employability.

Sarah, 30, from Derby, said: "Having experienced first-hand the barriers dyslexia can create, I'm passionate about making a real and lasting contribution to improving the lives of people with dyslexia.

"I hope the event will raise awareness and empower, inspire and motivate dyslexic students, whilst promoting the benefits of inclusive practice to educators and employers."

The event will be attended by further and higher education students and educators, including those dealing with special educational needs; leading industry figures and business students; and professionals in human resources, health services, and the voluntary and charities sector.

Workshops on the day will cover dyslexia in:

  • the workplace;
  • primary schools, showing how educators' early intervention and practical steps for dyslexic pupils can give them a better future;
  • higher education and the study skills which can help dyslexic students.

The day will also feature advice on 'assistive technology' designed to help those with dyslexia, such as voice recognition devices or those which can automatically turn text into speech.

Those attending will also be able to view an empowering exhibition featuring the inspirational learning journeys of dyslexic current students and the successes of professionals in a wide range of industries.

Donations for the Dyslexia Association will be taken on the day, and a cake stall and charity raffle will also raise funds for it.

Dr Asia Alder, Futures Award Coordinator for the University's Careers and Employment Service, added: "The Futures Award encourages students to use their skills to help others, developing them along the way. Sarah has undertaken a significant project here by devising and organising the event, and we wish her luck with it."

To attend the event - entitled Dyslexia - A successful journey through university and into the workplace - or for more information visit its web page at:

For further press information please contact Sean Kirby, University of Derby Press and PR Officer, on 01332 591891 or email:

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