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We recently spoke to Dan Evans, Operations Manager at The Inn Collection Group to find out what they are doing to create change across the hospitality and entertainment industry regarding diversity and inclusion. Introduce yourself and your company I’m Dan Evans and I’m an operations manager at The Inn Collection Group, a dynamic and fast-growing pubco based in the North East of England. We have pubs with rooms in pretty outstanding locations in Northumberland, County Durham and Durham city itself as well as in the Lake District and Yorkshire. All our inns deliver our trusted eat drink, sleep and explore model, serving cracking British pub fare, a great range of drinks in a lovely environment, with overnight service accommodation too. Construction is underway on our first Wearside venue, The Seaburn Inn on the seafront in Sunderland, which is expected to open in winter 2020. What is your D&I mission for 2020 and beyond? Diversity and Inclusivity is a company-wide mission across The Inn Collection Group throughout the ranks. The Inn Collection Group is all about being as inclusive and welcoming to everyone. We embrace families, people with additional accessibility needs, overseas visitors, older people, dog owners, and multi-generational groups. This includes our own staff, creating inclusive guest experiences, and supporting diversity initiatives. It’s what sets us aside from competitors as a brand that people know and trust Our customers stay loyal to us and recommend us because of our values. Can you share some D&I best practice examples? From a team perspective, we continually look to invest in our employees, so they are not only upskilled and trained but so they share our ethos and philosophy in D&I and feel valued themselves as part of our Inn Collection Group family. It’s one of the reasons why we are officially The Best Pub Employer in the UK, after winning the category at the industry’s Publican Awards 2019. And that begins at the very first point of contact, whether it’s someone actually stepping through our doors, or clicking onto our website. We launched our Inspiration Academy that includes work-based learning, but also team building and motivational training days, ranging from speakers such as a world-class Olympic swimmer to go-karting and brewery visits. We work closely with partners such as Newcastle Airport’s inbound tourism campaign Visit North East England, Visit Great Britain and Visit England and are involved in projects such as Explorer’s Road to penetrate international markets including Dubai, America, and Germany. We have invested in translation facilities on our website, such as the Recite Me software that allows people browsing our website to select to view our site in their own language. Comments regarding being accessible across your online landscape? We are currently investing in a new website that will house all of our expanding portfolio of inns, making it easier for people to navigate our products and find out more about our brand. D& I begins at the first point of contact for us, whether that’s someone stetting through our doors, or landing on our website. We need to ensure they feel welcomed and inclusive. The Recite Me software not only makes our website content accessible but useable for everyone, whether they are visually impaired, neurodiverse, speak English as a second language or are of an older age. It results in a better online experience for potential customers, translating into increased sales and bookings. Share with us an example of D&I success? As a company, we punch above our weight when it comes to D&I. We are proud to have won numerous awards, in which our commitment to D&I plays an important part, not just because it is legislation, but because we genuinely want to open up our business to a wider audience. We recently hosted a FAM trip (familiarization trip) by German travel operators who have positive feedback about the Recite Me toolbar and translation service. We have a partnership with older people’s charity Abbeyfield and The Pub is a Hub that sees us open up our inns to isolated older people living alone for events and lunches. Many of the people who come along are internet savvy, but they need help being able to see their screens – we’ve had great feedback about the usability of our website, which Recite Me allows. Concluding company message Putting it simply, we aim to be the best we can be to applying continuous best practice across all our operations. For us, it’s not just about being legally compliant when it comes to D&I, it’s about really embedding it into our operations and mission statement so people choose to eat, drink, sleep and explore with us, as well as choose us to work for.
Sir Robert McAlpine is on a mission to create change. A mission to make the UK’s construction sector more diverse and inclusive. Traditionally the construction industry is known as a male-driven sector that falls short on inclusivity. We recently spoke to Nadeem Mirza, Head of Resourcing at Sir Robert McAlpine to find out what they are doing to create change for all. Please tell us a little about yourself and Sir Robert McAlpine My name is Nadeem Mirza and I am the Head of Resourcing at Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd. Sir Robert McAlpine is a family-owned tier one building and civil engineering company which was established in 1869. We have worked on some of Britain’s most iconic buildings and projects, including the Olympic Stadium, Big Ben, O2 Arena, and the Emirates Stadium. We focus on engineering excellence and building Britain’s future heritage. I have been with the company one and a half years now and what strikes you straight away is that we are a family-run organisation. From the top-down, everyone plays a vital role in taking this company forward. Sir Robert McAlpine operates like a FTSE company but within a family environment and this is the key to our joint success. What is your D&I mission for 2020 and beyond? At the heart of Sir Robert McAlpine is our family roots and this resonates across our inclusive workforce. Our vision is to create a business where everyone can thrive; where people are respected and treated fairly. Everyone can make a positive change regardless of your sex, race or religion. Ultimately our mission doesn’t change, to be a fully inclusive construction company with an open-door policy to all. Can you share some best practice examples? Sir Robert McAlpine’s board is equally split by gender. Female board members also champion and run our females in construction, mentoring program. A program designed to empower and support all females across the business, to breakdown the gender divide in construction. To continue our work towards a more diverse workforce Sir Robert McAlpine not only cherry-picks top universities. We work closely with all universities across the country to make sure we are able to attract and discover a wider pool of talent. Comments regarding being accessible across your online landscape? To discover and attract a wider pool of talent, and to unearth great people with unique skill sets, we needed to make sure our digital landscape was an environment where anyone could come and engage easily. In line with our commitment to lead on inclusion and inspire industry-wide change we now provide barrier-free access to our websites for people with a range of accessibility issues, including visual impairments, dyslexia, colour blindness and other forms of neurodiversity, as well as those who speak English as a second language. Concluding company message At Sir Robert McAlpine we want to inspire change across the construction industry through a genuine and honest commitment to inclusion that is embedded at every level of the organisation and promote the diversity of the communities we work in. Guest Blog with Nadeem Mirza, Head of Resourcing, Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd
Inclusive Employers workshop hosted in partnership with Recite Me. Recite Me is excited to announce that we will be hosting the North East Inclusive Employers workshop. On March the 6th at 10am Recite Me will welcome people to take part in a free workshop addressing the importance of being inclusive, alongside legislation risks, process best practices and how technology can help remove barriers. The event will cover the following topics; The importance of being inclusive What are the risks? Legislation and Reputation Where can biases slip into the process? Reducing the impact of bias Using technology to remove barriers Who Should Attend This Workshop? D&I professionals HR business partners and managers HR directors Senior leaders Recruitment Professionals This workshop is free to attend but spaces are limited and will be allocated on a first come first saved basis. If you're interested in attending this session, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the National Disability Rights Network website, located at the top left corner, we have a button titled “Accessibility Options”. When selected, the Recite toolbar appears – this is an accessibility overlay. Overlays are controversial in the #a11y community as they’re often misrepresented as “solving” inaccessible sites, or as a way of bringing a website into compliance. The misrepresentation of this tool perpetuates the idea that achieving total accessibility is possible. NDRN believes the Recite tool is critical because we know that people do not always have access to assistive technology like screen readers, or are able to modify the accessibility settings for the device they’re using to explore our website. Recite offers a different way for people with a variety of access needs to interact with our content. Without the toolbar, the information conveyed on NDRN’s website continues to be improved upon for optimal use by visitors with disabilities, and those that utilize existing assistive technology. With that said, the built-in Recite toolbar can help someone using a public computer that has dyslexia and could benefit from modified fonts, or someone who has low vision and wants to make adjustments to contrast settings. For people with disabilities living in institutions that often have very little control over a computer’s internal accessibility settings – an accessibility toolbar like Recite’s can be a real game-changer. The Recite toolbar is also for everyone. It serves as an educational tool, demonstrating what is possible with inclusion in mind. It’s for people who may be unaware of what accessibility features are, and simply want to give it a whirl. This exploration may prompt someone to modify the accessibility settings built into their own devices. We encourage all of our visitors that can, to click the “Accessibility Options” button and explore. Kat Holmes, author of Mismatch: How Inclusion Shapes Design, noted during a podcast, “…to the definition of inclusion, is that it happens in many different ways. No company today is a perfect model of this in practice, in part because I think this work is really an ongoing and never-ending kind of evolution.” As NDRN continues to evolve and improve upon its website, we feel that the Recite toolbar is in alignment with the direction of our mission to address the access needs of our website visitors. The Recite toolbar compliments the goal and commitment NDRN has to ensure that all of our website resources are accessible to our website visitors. Tina Pinedo, Communication and Digital Specialist at the National Disability Rights Network
The results of the newly-released Click-Away Pound 2019 survey show that UK retailers lose out on £17 billion by ignoring the online needs of shoppers with disabilities. Click-Away Pound is a research survey conducted by Freeney Williams designed to explore the online shopping experience of people with disabilities in the UK and the cost to business of ignoring shoppers who are disabled. The Click-Away Pound 2016 survey was the first research that quantified the online spending of users with access needs and the results showed that online shopping was a very poor and limiting experience for many people with disabilities. For example, 71% of customers with disabilities who have access needs said they clicked away from websites that they find difficult to use. We caught up with Rick Williams, Click-Away Pound survey co-author and Freeney Williams co-founder, to find out what has changed since 2016. Why did you first start the Click-Away Pound Survey in 2016? RW: Website accessibility and usability has been a major issue for many disabled people with access needs for many years and little progress was being made despite the law, guidance, and publicity. We wanted to find a way of persuading business that website accessibility and usability was a real bottom-line issue and show what they were potentially missing out on. We thought this might be a more effective persuader as other approaches had not worked. According to the results of the Click-Away Pound Survey 2019, have things got better or worse since the 2016 survey? RW: Generally things haven’t changed from the user viewpoint – it is all rather disappointing. The percentage of those who click away from inaccessible websites has remained more or less the same, but the actual number has significantly increased simply because of the numbers of disabled people now on-line. Also, the click away spend has now increased by approximately 65% up to £17.1 billion, which is approximately 10% of the UK’s total on-line spend. Another interesting fact is the major increase in those people using phones to access online shopping, with over 50% of disabled people now using a phone or tablet. This has major implications for ensuring apps are accessible as well as websites. This trend is only likely to increase. Why do you think that things haven’t improved? RW: To be honest I’ve absolutely no idea - it is all very frustrating. The original survey was, and still is, widely read and referenced and the whole issue is getting more traction. We are coming to the conclusion that the current approach such as the law, business case, and PR issues aren’t delivering what is needed. Maybe we need to change the law and make the obligations much more specific as they are now for the public sector. What do you think are the key takeaway points from the Click-Away Pound Survey 2019? RW: The continued lack of understanding of business to this issue continues to be the key thing for me. This is illustrated by the numbers of people who said they would not bother to contact the business if they had an accessibility problem: in 2016 this was 7% and in 2019 it was 8%. If any figure shows how little business understand this customer profile it is this figure. The key reason given, of course, is that it isn’t worth the effort as no one understands what is being discussed and nothing changes anyway! How do the 2019 survey results make you feel? RW: Frankly, frustrated and disappointed, and like we are banging our heads against the proverbial brick wall. It is like businesses don't care about this major potential income stream and that they don't understand the impact of meeting the needs of disabled shoppers. If you had a magic wand and you could change one part of UK online accessibility, what would it be and why? RW: I would want organisations to take a much more proactive role in specifying the accessibility and usability of a website into any website or app design specification. This should be underpinned by the requirement for developers to demonstrate how they have done this. I would also suggest that organisations should ensure their management systems are up to delivering this requirement. This turns the issue into business as usual, which is what it should be. Given the Click-Away Pound Survey 2019 results, what action, if any, would you like to see the UK government take now? RW: We have come to the conclusion that specific regulations are the way forward. This is now the case for all public sector websites. Clearly the current law is not fit for purpose as whilst websites are covered by the Equality Act 2010 no cases have been taken to court. Conversely, there is endless data available about the importance of this issue in terms of the bottom line, image, and PR, but this hasn’t worked either.
Approximately one billion people globally have a disability and they can often face barriers when visiting inaccessible websites that prevent them from taking an active part in life. Your organization needs to address Website Accessibility. Click the image below to download our one-page document.
Vertus was launched with a clear vision; to be recognised for their market-leading service, undertaken with a values-based approach. Since then they have fast developed a reputation as a top supplier and trusted partner to clients, and more importantly, they identify life-changing opportunities to their candidates.
Anna Kennedy Online charity was founded by Dr Anna Kennedy OBE by her own journey with her two boys Patrick and Angelo and her frustration and disappointment with the lack of facilities and support across the UK. Anna Kennedy Online works hard providing workshops, training, legal advice and talks across the UK. All support and charity information is kept up to date on their website and daily across social media. They also work tirelessly on annual events such as their legendary showcase of ‘Autism’s Got Talent’ and their successful annual events AKO Autism Expo and the Autism Hero Awards.
The Clear Company was established in 2003 and their mission is to remove barriers to inclusion and creating diverse workplaces. Now the recognised leaders of inclusive recruitment and talent management insight, training and technology in the UK, they work with a wide range of clients to allow unseen talent to shine. Over the past 17 years of continuously refining practices, they bring a balance of expertise, insight and a roadmap of actions to their clients. By challenging current thinking and behaviours they enable clients to take significant steps on their inclusion journey. All supported by training and online products that enable The Clear Company to driving meaningful, measurable change as companies make D&I part of their everyday.
Fans of all ages and regardless of their differing abilities or if they speak English as a second language should be able to come together online as a community to share their passion for football. Football is a global game and club websites are the central hubs to bring everyone. These websites provide visitors with everything they need to know about their favourite club; latest news, match reports, fixtures and the ability to purchase tickets and merchandise. Unfortunately, there is an issue that many disabled football supporters have to deal with, inaccessible websites. To allow everyone to engage with their favourite clubs and players, football club websites need to be inclusive by providing accessibility support. Globally there are an estimated 285 million people with a visual impairment of some kind and around 10-15% of the world’s population has dyslexia. In the UK alone, there are 1.5 million people with a learning disability and 4.2 million people who have English as a second language. This makes assistive technology all the more important to support fans online to access content in a way that works best for them. Many Premier League football clubs, such as Newcastle United, Everton FC, Watford FC, Leicester City and other clubs are now offering an accessibility and language support solution called Recite Me assistive technology to help everyone online. Recite Me is award-winning software that allows Kick It Out’s users to customise the website in a way that works best for them This is particularly important for disabled people or people who speak English as a second language to access vital equality information and resources. English football’s equality and inclusion organisation Kick It Out also support people of their website with Recite Me. Keeley Baptista, Kick It Out’s Head of Partnerships commented, “Recite Me is a pioneering software tool that will significantly improve the accessibility of our website. “Disability inclusion is a central part of our work and we are excited to be working more closely with the team at Recite Me going forward as we aim to break down the barriers for disabled people in football.” Lucy Oliver, Head of Inclusion, Newcastle United Football Club commented, "We are delighted to have launched Recite Me on our club website. Our collective aim at Newcastle United is to create a culture as varied as that of the great city we are honoured to represent. This toolbar is a tremendous step forward in ensuring that people can access news and information about our club more easily which will undoubtedly increase our reach and engagement." Allowing people to come together to share their passion for football online should be a key goal for all football clubs in 2020. By providing a wide range of accessibility tools such as the screen reader and on-demand live translation, fans of all ages, regardless of their disability or differences can engage with football news and events online hassle-free.
National Apprenticeship Week 2020 is now in full swing This annual celebration of apprenticeships highlights the benefits of apprenticeships on individuals, employers and the economy. National Apprenticeship Week is now in its 13th year, and the theme this year is ‘Look Beyond’, which celebrates the diversity in apprenticeships today. Apprenticeships are a tried and tested route into high-skilled careers, but accessing and applying for an apprenticeship can be difficult for people with disabilities and learning conditions without the right support. Digital accessibility matters for apprentices Over 80,000 of the young people who sat their GCSEs in 2018 had dyslexia, yet nearly nine out of ten young people with dyslexia will leave school without being diagnosed. Many of these young people will want to go on and serve an apprenticeship, which is why the apprenticeship recruitment/application process must be accessible and inclusive for everyone. It is well-known that key UK industries like construction and engineering, which rely heavily on apprenticeships, need to continue to increase the diversity of their workforces. Again, this underlines the need to ensure that recruitment/application processes for apprenticeships must be accessible and inclusive for everyone. Making online apprenticeship applications accessible In the 21st century, this means ensuring online application forms and supporting materials can be easily accessed. That’s why the Recite Me assistive toolbar is already being used on the websites of various recruitment and employment-related organisations like EqualEngineers, Sir Robert McAlpine, Tesco Bank, VERCIDA, Guidant Global, Morson Group and Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI), Recite Me is an innovative cloud-based web accessibility solution that allows website visitors to customise any website the way they need it to work for them. Recite Me's innovative software makes websites accessible through a unique range of features including: text to speech functionality, dyslexia software, zoom and page masking, an interactive dictionary, a translation tool with over 100 languages. Recite Me’s web accessibility and language assistive toolbar ensures that routes into employment, including any apprenticeship schemes, are more accessible. Recite Me helps Morson to place more jobseekers with disabilities Rebekah Lee, Head of Marketing at Morson Group said: "As a recruitment agency, Morson are gatekeepers who can open the doors to the world of work for people with disabilities. “Therefore, we have a responsibility to our candidate community to reduce the barriers in place that may hold people back from applying for roles. “Committed to providing a fully inclusive and accessible recruitment process, we added Recite Me’s web accessibility software to our website which has revolutionised the way we engage with candidates online. “The technology ensures every part of our recruitment process is accessible to everyone, from browsing to making an application. “By using Recite Me we can ensure that every candidate gets an equal chance at developing their career by being able to access the same opportunities to gain and maintain employment. “Recite Me is one of the key ways we are realising our mission to ensure that there are no barriers in place to hold talented people back". Ultimately, the right online accessibility support like Recite Me can make a huge difference for young people with disabilities by ensuring they can access websites to apply for apprenticeships and jobs with ease. 1000’s of organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for online visitors. To find out more or to book your free trial please contact the team.
The University of York Students’ Union (YUSU) represents over 18,000 students at York. Alongside providing a platform for students’ voices to be heard at the university and within the local community, YUSU provide and support over 300 societies, sports clubs and other student-led networks and activity. They strive to be fully inclusive, brave and for, with and by students.
Last weekend (Saturday 1st February) saw Recite Me and Dyslexia North East competition winners enjoy an afternoon of football, great food, and entertainment in the hospitality box at St James Park. Last October during National Dyslexia Week (7-13 October) Recite Me’s Marketing Manager Michael Halpin headed down to a Dyslexia North East opening evening to learn more about the great work they are doing to support young children. Dyslexia North East was founded in 2005 by a group of teachers and a GP who attended a Specific Learning Difficulties Course at RGS School in Newcastle. The Group recognised that Parents and Carers in the North East had nowhere to turn to for help for children and adults with dyslexia. So they decided to start a Support Group for Parents and Children at RGS Junior School. As part of the workshop evening and getting to know everyone and sharing stories, Recite Me wanted to congratulate the children on their great work and enthusiasm for wanting to learn more and develop. At the end of the evening, all the children’s names were placed into a box and with help from Liz Ferguson, Director at Dyslexia North East, three winners were chosen at random. The three winners and one additional guest each would join the Recite Me team for the Newcastle United vs Norwich City match in the hospitality box at St James Park, including a mini-tour pitchside and a beautiful meal. The day started two hours before kick-off where everyone met for a day of footy fun. Once settled in the box and everyone topped up with soft drinks and starters it was time to go pitchside. Escorted by NUFC staff team box 636 headed down to get a real feel for the matchday atmosphere and they even had the opportunity to sit in the home dugout. Selfies and group photos taken the team headed back up to their seats for dinner. The match was ready to begin, all adults and children seated ready for kick-off soaking up the buzzing atmosphere around the stadium. After a slow first half, everyone was ready for a top-up of drinks and pudding. All of which went down a treat. The second half was underway and even the magic of Saint Maximin couldn’t break down the Norwich City defence. The game finished all square at 0-0. At full time the children were lucky enough to spy Newcastle United star Matthew Longstaff and with Recite Me football’s in hand, they politely asked for them to be signed. Capping off a great day for everyone. Recite Me would like to thank Newcastle United for their hospitality and Dyslexia North East for the amazing company.
A recent study found that only 60% of UK local authority websites’ home pages are accessible to people with disabilities. The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 are set to change this. This guide will give you a summary of the regulations, plus information about what you need to do to comply and how Recite Me can help you.
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals launch Recite Me accessibility software to support patients online
To improve the way all staff, patients, and visitors can read important content online, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals have installed the Recite Me accessibility and language support toolbar on to their website. Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals (BSUH) is an acute teaching hospital working across two main sites, Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath. Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals supports the diverse population of their area with all health and care needs. To continue and evolve this great work they wanted to enable all their staff, patients and visitors to access contact information, appointment data and much more, with ease. To achieve this totally inclusive goal their website needed to provide people with accessibility and language support. Recite Me accessibility software has a wide range of supporting features including a screen reader, styling options, reading support and a translation tool with over 100 languages, including 35 text to speech voices. Regardless of people’s disabilities, learning difficulties or if they speak English as a second language, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals wanted to be able to support website visitors to access their content barrier-free. Simon Anjoyeb, Deputy Head of Inclusion, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust said, "We are pleased to have adopted the Recite Me toolbar; it is easy to use and provides a comprehensive range of tools to improve the accessibility of our website. The toolbar is a popular asset with our patients and has enabled people that have previously found it challenging to use our website to engage with content relevant to their healthcare. "