Meet the Swansea Woman Teaching Sign Language to Colleagues

A signer who works at the Amazon fulfilment centre in Swansea is sharing her knowledge and skills in sign language to educate her colleagues on the importance of inclusion.

Morag Kitson, who works at Amazon in Swansea, is fluent in sign language and has a passion for sharing her skills with those around her to encourage inclusion and support for the deaf community in Swansea.

Morag, who is originally from Aldershot in England, spent 20 years working in the hospitality industry before exploring a new role at Amazon following a move to Tumble, Carmarthenshire in 2018.

During a period living in Halifax, Yorkshire, Morag began attending sign language classes at Calderdale College, and was later involved with Halifax and Huddersfield deaf clubs. Following her move to Wales, Morag built a relationship with Llanelli Centre for the Deaf, her local deaf club.

Morag’s interest in signing stemmed from her grandfather, who served in the British Army and as a result was left with hearing damage. Morag’s grandfather chose not to learn sign language due to the stereotypes associated with signing at the time – learning this saddened Morag and influenced her to make a change.

Morag said: “I want to get rid of the prejudices about sign language – at the end of the day, deaf people can do everything everyone else can do except hear. Sign language is a beautiful visual language and is nothing to be ashamed of.”

Classes were initially started by a colleague of Morag’s, Luke Tanner, who is involved with Amazon’s disability, equality and inclusion team.

Luke started the classes due to Covid restrictions and the issues faced when trying to communicate whilst wearing masks in a noisy environment. Morag took over teaching soon after, with Luke continuing to look after the logistical side of operating the weekly classes. 

Classes began in July 2020 with six people in attendance. The fulfilment centre now has 143 employees enrolled in the classes and attending regularly. Morag personally feels British Sign Language (BSL) should be taught by a deaf person, and therefore refers to her classes as sign classes rather than directly referring to them as BSL classes.

Morag’s classes are an introduction to signing, and those interested in pursuing BSL can enrol in an accredited class if wanting to advance further. The aim of the classes on site is to break the initial barrier of approaching a deaf person and introducing yourself.

For Morag, if she can inspire at least a handful of people to continue their learning, she has succeeded. She said: “I want to share my passion, my enthusiasm and my interest in sign language to inspire other people to pursue further learning and contribute towards a more inclusive world for the deaf community.”

Speaking on why she feels the sign language classes on site are important, Morag added:

“It’s about making Amazon accessible for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, so nobody feels alone or isolated. At the end of the day, it’s not about my story, it’s about theirs. I do this to make sure everyone has a place in the community we have here at Amazon.

“Being able to have that initial starting conversation makes all the difference and really makes someone feel included. Members of the deaf community regularly find themselves entering an environment almost expecting nobody to be able to communicate with them and when someone shows signing ability it completely changes their day for the better.”

Speaking on her favourite thing about the experience, Morag said:

“When someone who has attended my classes comes back to me to say they’ve used their sign language for the first time with a deaf person. They’re proud to have been able to use it, even if it’s something as simple as introducing themselves. I’m pleased to hear they have had the confidence to initiate a conversation with someone and have received a positive reaction.”

Volunteers from Llanelli Centre for the Deaf recently visited the Swansea Bay fulfilment centre to meet with Morag and talk to those who attend her classes about navigating life in the deaf community in a hearing world. The charity also educated the Amazon team on how they can create an inclusive environment for deaf colleagues.

Amazon Swansea General Manager, Christopher Law, added: “Morag is a much-loved member of our team at Amazon in Swansea, and we want to say thank you for the time and dedication she has given to hosting her sign language classes. Her work in the community is beneficial to so many people, and her drive to elevate Amazon commitment to be exclusive for all is commendable.”

Amazon is committed to diversity and inclusion and brings together varying backgrounds, ideas, and points of view throughout the company’s network across the UK. Amazon’s ability to innovate relies on the perspectives and knowledge of people from all backgrounds, actively recruiting people from diverse backgrounds to build a supportive and inclusive workplace.

Amazon takes steps to ensure employees have a sense of belonging, value, and opportunity, hosting a range of initiatives that focus on gender diversity and inclusion, building skills for tech leaders from diverse backgrounds, empowering the next generation with opportunities in STEM programmes, celebrating the LGBT+ community, military initiatives and more.

To read more on diversity and inclusion at Amazon, visit: