Case Study
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The Entertainer logo

The Entertainer is an international business with a mission is to be the best-loved toyshop. We spoke with Mike Metcalfe-Shaw, Learning and Development Specialist, about their experience working with terptree.

How did you discover terptree?

My colleague set up the initial meetings with terptree. The first time that I had any immediate dealings with terptree was when we did the filming in Kingston. We did a sign language training piece with one of our store managers who is profoundly deaf. That would have been last August/ September time. So, I didn’t initiate the conversation or discover [terptree],  but after [my colleague] left, Michelle and I have continued to keep in touch. 


What was it like working with terptree?

It was brilliant. We sent terptree what we needed, which was an initial educational video, because we’ve got a [deaf] store manager, Pete, and we were trying to be as inclusive as a business as we can. We wanted not only to support Pete, but to support our employees that would be working with him. And then also how our employees can support our customers more, our contractors, anybody that is either profoundly deaf or uses sign language or lip reads – whoever it is that needs that. We wanted something out there so that they would be able to communicate, and I think for me it was more than just the initial communication, it was about being confident in communicating because I think that’s very important. If employees don’t have the confidence to approach somebody and initiate a conversation if somebody is deaf, I think it’s very hard for them to then feel like they can carry on that conversation. 


So, it was about building confidence and giving them the basic tools to enable them to talk to customers or to deaf colleagues in a very inclusive way, and to offer anybody that shops with us the same level of experience. So that was the ultimate goal.


Then terptree went away and created a script. And I remember when the director and the camera crew came down, they had everything all ready. Brilliant day. It was a really smooth process. terptree understood what we needed, our requirements. They built on what we needed. 


They were able to involve Pete as well through the entire process, so Pete felt very included. He felt seen. He felt like the business and terptree were helping him not only support him, like I said, but support everybody that’s going to come into contact with him to understand just how you need to make certain changes and it doesn’t need to be a big thing or a big deal. You just need to know the tools, have the confidence, and when Pete was there it was great because he was able to showcase what he wanted. He was able to get out of it, what he wanted to get out of it. And I know it was very important for him to be able to get that message across.


It felt like everybody that was there understood what we needed. We understood what they could offer, and it just aligned. It just worked really, really well.


What benefits has it now brought to the company since working with terptree?

We have seen an increase in people asking for further sign language training – a lot of people want to go and get the training but they don’t necessarily know where or how much it would cost. So, we have seen a lot of people wanting to carry on their basic sign language but then also they want to find how they can improve on that. At the conference we gave everybody a BSL sheet and Victoria and Sam taught everybody how to sign their name and we showed the video there.


That was when we first previewed it. The video is live on our e-learning system so everybody’s got access to it. It’s now in all of our new starters, new management and head office inductions. It’s one compulsory piece they have to watch, and a lot of people are asking for a lot more training on it and to see what we can offer, which is great. And another thing is it’s helped us as a business. Every single video now goes through the caption system. We make sure every single thing has that – not only for Pete, but for anybody that might need it.


I think it’s made us more aware that we need to just be thinking about everybody. It’s really helped everybody, and it’s been quite exciting and a lot of people have wanted to learn more and one of our area managers [has done] a lot more further learning on it. I think it’s been bigger than we thought it would be, and it just highlighted that a lot of people want to learn that skill, and I think the video that they watch has given them the spark to really go and do it. So, it’s been very beneficial, for everybody.


We’ve included it in everybody’s compulsory induction, so whatever position they start at in the business, they have to watch that so that they’re aware of it and they know what it means and what we want our business to be in terms of inclusivity. 


Would you recommend terptree and why?

Yes, absolutely would recommend terptree, 100%. I think it’s because they knew what we wanted and worked with us rather than telling us what we needed. They helped us get what we wanted from it, as well as guiding us because we started very unaware of what the possibilities were. I would definitely recommend them for that reason. The day was well structured, but it was still fun, and it was a great day. Everyone, like Pete, talked about it and I talked about it and the store [does too].  Everybody enjoyed themselves. It was very well managed, very well structured. The team, the director and the camera crew, were so professional and knew what they were doing. Victoria was great. If you want a professional company to get involved that will listen to you and support you then yes, absolutely.


What would your advice be to anyone else who might be considering engaging with terptree?

Have an initial conversation and then just do it. I think a lot of people are very hesitant to either try something new or they’re not quite sure – especially if you’re somebody that’s not really [met people that are] deaf, it can be quite daunting if you’re not quite sure how to progress and you don’t want to get anything wrong. Just have the initial conversation. Contact terptree. They will guide you. Just do it because it’s going to be such a benefit to your employees and your customers and any of your stakeholders.


My number one piece [of advice] is just don’t be afraid. You’ll make such a difference. You might think you’re going to make a small difference, but you won’t actually realise the significance and the amount of difference that you’ll make because not everybody will come forth and give you feedback on it. But actually, [you realise the significance] when you start digging or you get people coming up to you afterwards that say it was great. I learned a lot and I’ve gone out and done something. It’s really nice to know that you’ve been a part of that. Just do it and you’ll make such an impact.


Was there anything else you wanted to add? 

It was a really great day. And Victoria’s book – the first book that she launched – I’ve got a copy and my whole team has got a copy. We promote that book to anybody that says, “I want to learn a bit more” or “I want to educate myself on it”. I think having that resource and [being able to] say “go and buy this book, you’ll learn a lot from there” is really helpful and it’s definitely sparked how we can then look at other training that we can offer to our employees to support our customers. 

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