I hosted a webinar this morning on behalf of the IAAP (International Association of Accessibility Professionals), on the subject of Accessibility Expertise. It was a pleasure really, as it was a nice informal chat with one of my favourite fellow accessibility professionals – Neil Eustice from KPMG.
The intention of the webinar was to share thoughts and experience on the subject matter and to demonstrate how it plays a key role in being a Strategic Leader in Accessibility (SLiA). One of the “hats” I wear is the Chair of the taskforce designing a SLiA certification on behalf of the IAAP. It’s great working with a team of accessibility professionals (including Neil of course) from around the world, to develop a much needed accreditation for those who are leaders or specialists in accessibility.
The discussion did get me to thinking, do all organisations need an accessibility specialist? It’s particularly challenging achieving new roles or additional headcount in the current climate, therefore if an organisation doesn’t currently have such a role in their structure is it going to reach the top of their agenda any time soon?
My initial thought was – absolutely! All organisations, certainly the larger companies, should have someone dedicated to accessibility and long term I do believe that’s where we can all see the most value. However, in the mean time it is possible to develop current and future employees to ensure they are designing, delivering and procuring accessible solutions, workplaces and services, with some support from external experts.
Of course this is where I will say I believe Be #PeopleSmart is best placed to provide the required knowledge and to deliver learning to your teams; however this message isn’t really a marketing one it’s more around providing an alternative viewpoint to those who feel they have to either appoint a full time accessibility leader or not progress towards being truly inclusive and accessible.
If your home needed a new heating or cooling system would you install it yourself?
If it was a big enough building you may employ a Maintenance Manager.
However, for most of us we reach out to the experts and engage them to provide the services we need.
Progressing towards an inclusive and accessible workplace takes time, planning, experience and expertise; my advice is make use of those available.
The first step of committing to care about people, to enable staff and customers and to have a workplace where people want to be, is the first win. Sometimes we all need a little help to get to where we want to be.