News & Media
This week (May 21 - 27) it’s Dementia Action Week. Previously known as Dementia Awareness Week, Dementia Action Week is organised by the Alzheimer’s Society, which wants everyone to take action to improve the everyday lives of people affected by dementia. Dementia is now a common condition in the UK, with 850,000 people here affected by it according to the Alzheimer’s Society. Dementia doesn’t just affect elderly people Surprisingly to many, dementia doesn’t only affect elderly people: 40,000 people in the UK under the age of 65 affected by early onset dementia. And these numbers are set to rise as it’s estimated that by 2051 the number of people in the UK who will have dementia is set to reach two million, which will reflect the growing size of our ageing population. Raising awareness of issues around dementia is crucial but more action is needed to create the change in communities that people with dementia need. Take actions That’s why everyone is being asked to take both small and big actions during Dementia Action Week to help make everyday life better for those with dementia. If you want to do something for Dementia Action Week to make a difference there’s lots of great ideas on the Alzheimer’s Society’s website. For example, everyone is being encouraged to take small actions like: talk to people who have dementia; make time to listen to people who have dementia; ask questions and learn about dementia; and ask if someone needs help if they look confused. UK-wide events Or if you want to get together with other people there are events to mark Dementia Action Week across the UK. And if you want to join in the conversation around Dementia Action Week on Twitter just search for, and use, the hashtag #DAW2018. Ultimately, dementia can be a lonely and frightening experience for those who have been diagnosed and their families. At Recite Me our mission is to help support people with disabilities and other conditions like dementia through our web accessibility software. So we are very pleased to be able to talk to you about Dementia Action Week and we hope this blog will help inspire you to take actions to help people with dementia and their families. 100’s of organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible to older people and people with disabilities – book your free demo now or call on 0191 4328092 to find out more.
Today is the seventh annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The aim of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital accessibility and inclusion and people with different disabilities. A growing number of people want to learn how to make technology accessible and usable for people with disabilities, but they are often unsure of where to start. That’s why GAAD aims to raise awareness about accessibility, particularly amongst people in the fields of digital design, development, usability, user experience and related areas. Those who influence digital tech must understand accessibility It’s crucial that these people, who influence how digital technology is designed and used, grow their understanding of what accessibility really means and how to get it right. To celebrate GAAD our Founder and CEO Ross Linnett has written a blog for the Chartered Institute of Public Relations about how PR and communications professionals can make their digital communications more accessible. PR and communications professionals shape the design and use of much digital technology like websites and apps. So the blog gives them a great chance to learn about simple steps they can take to make their digital communications more accessible for GAAD 2018. GAAD 2018 events There are lots of events happening around the world to mark GAAD 2018, including both physical and digital events. There are several events happening in the UK. For example, if you’re in London you may want to go to the UK Chapter of the User Experience Professionals’ Association’s (UXPA) event about upcoming standards, technologies and ways of implementing this into your team. Or if you can’t make that event there’s a We Love Accessibility GAAD event on May 31st, which will explore best practises for the web in a world where standards in accessibility for digital are constantly evolving. GAAD 2018 digital events If digital events are more your cup of tea, may we recommend you check out the online event about Using WordPress for Accessible Web Development. Or look at the BBC Access All Areas events, which will be live streaming between two events held at BBC offices in London and Salford, UK. Recite Me Founder and CEO Ross Linnett said: “The whole team here at Recite Me and I have a passion for digital accessibility. “So we are very proud to support GAAD 2018 and hope that lots of people take this chance to learn more about digital accessibility. “Around one in every five people in the UK has a disability and they can often face barriers like inaccessible websites that prevent them taking an active part in life. “GAAD aims to change this by giving those responsible for designing digital technology the chance to understand what accessibility means and why it’s so important for people with disabilities.” Let us know how you’re marking GAAD 2018 We’d really love to know what you’re doing to celebrate GAAD 2018. Please tweet Recite Me (@reciteme) to let us know and help us get as many people as possible talking about GAAD 2018 and accessibility.
By Debra Ruh Accessibility in the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) sector holds unparalleled promise and opportunities for people with disabilities never before seen in our history. Many people are surprised to learn just how much of the world’s population is affected by a disability, and how valuable accessible design of ICT is to the global marketplace. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 7 people in the world have a disability. In the United States, 1 in 5 people identify as having a disability according to the US Census. It is also important to note that disabilities are a normal part of life. Persons with disabilities might navigate the world of technology in a different way but they do use technology. We all can add value when given the opportunity to tap into our unique innate abilities. Accessible ICT is an important part of that equalizing equation. To really understand the impact one has to look no further than the World Health Organization which indicates that people with disabilities are the world’s largest and fastest growing minority group. With the population of the United States aging and the likelihood of developing a disability or other mobility limitation increasing with age, the growth in the number of people with disabilities can be expected to rise dramatically. The growing population of veterans and service members with disabilities is also impacting this number. This is an exciting time, of great promise and opportunity for people of all abilities. This is a new era for global citizens, one where emerging new technologies and mobile computing devices are serving as enablers for people of all ages and all levels of education. Designing and delivering ICT to be fully accessible ensures all individuals can enjoy the benefits and advantages of technology to enrich their lives and fulfill their dreams. Click here to download a PDF of the World Report on Disability An inclusive, accessible and universal design approach to technology is critical to both public and private industry wishing to anticipate future needs of this growing population. By recognizing the importance of the protection and promotion of the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities through assistive technology and accessible ICT, the world continues to strengthen policies, strategies, and programs along with an increase in awareness of the public at large of the importance of the full inclusion of individuals with disabilities, accessible ICT and assistive technology. Making technology usable for all has become imperative for unleashing the potential of all persons and is critical for any public and private institution that hopes to fully participate and remain relevant in the 21st century. Providing accessible ICT products and services also benefits the growing population affected by age-related impairments, in addition to people with disabilities. It is unwise to ignore the sheer numbers, influence and wealth of these individuals. In the US, baby boomers control $30 trillion according to Accenture.1 There are over 72 million Baby Boomers in the United States. Baby Boomers are Americans born between the years 1946 and 1964. It is important to note that this is not a USA phenomenon. Throughout the world all populations are seeing burgeoning numbers of “elders”, defined as persons aged 65 years and older. “In many countries, including Japan, the United States, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, those aged over 65 are at, or approaching 15% of the population. People are living longer and are generally healthier at advanced ages than were previous cohorts, thus “old age” disabilities of the 20th century will be put off to older ages during the 21st century.”2 “Global aging ranks as the most profound demographic trend of our times. It is slowing (or even reversing) population growth, reshaping families, reshuffling consumer markets, force feeding the demand for health care, weighing on public budgets, depressing household savings, accelerating international migration, and revolutionizing the culture.” According to W3C, Older Web users are an increasing market segment and an important target group for many businesses, governments, and other organizations. Older adults can experience age-related impairments that can affect how they use the Web, such as declining: • Vision - including reduced contrast sensitivity, color perception, and near-focus, making it difficult to read web pages • Physical ability - including reduced dexterity and fine motor control, making it difficult to use a mouse and click small targets • Hearing - including difficulty hearing higher-pitched sounds and separating sounds, making it difficult to hear podcasts and other audio, especially when there is background music • Cognitive Ability - including reduced short-term memory, difficulty concentrating, and being easily distracted, making it difficult to follow navigation and complete online tasks Citation: 5CSIS These issues overlap with the accessibility needs of people with disabilities. Thus, websites and tools that are accessible to people with disabilities are more accessible to older users as well. Demand for accessible technology and services will continue to rise as well as the public’s understanding of, and requirement for, technology that is usable by every citizen. Corporations should think about what you can do to better meet the needs of people with disabilities, and find creative ways to make it happen through accessible technology. Move beyond general steps to protect and promote the rights of people with disabilities, ensure that accessibility is addressed in all policies and programs, promote training on the human rights of persons with disabilities, stop any practice that breach the rights of people with disabilities, and involve people with disabilities in the development of legislation and policies. These best practices help your team as- sure that all customers including persons with disabilities have the access they need. It begins at the pre-design stage and follows the entire design life cycle, with every process created, incorporating accessibility and disability inclusion into your policies, services, and products. These efforts support all customers, even the most demanding customers. It also allows team members to proactively innovate and solve problems before they surface. Bottom-line corporations should be focused on the Return on Investment (ROI) not just risk and compliance. To learn more about Debra Ruh: Visit www.RuhGlobal.com, Subscribe to her Show: ‘Human Potential at Work’ www.RuhGlobal.com/Show, or Follow on Social Media @debraruh. You can also find her latest book ‘Inclusion Branding’ on Amazon or at www.RuhGlobal.com/Inclusion-Branding.
The UK Government has opened a consultation on new digital accessibility laws for public sector websites and apps. The new EU Directive on the accessibility of the websites and mobile apps of public sector bodies will be brought into UK law later this year. The government will implement the new rules in UK law by passing regulations, which will place new responsibilities on public sector bodies to make their websites and apps accessible. And it has opened a consultation to hear your views about what you’ll need to do to comply with the new rules if you’re affected by them, and how the rules should be monitored and enforced. The new EU Directive means public sector websites and apps must become more accessible and meet minimum accessibility standards, except in cases where it will be disproportionate. This means that public sector websites or apps must meet the latest Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) accessibility standards (currently WCAG 2.0) at level AA. The new directive also requires every public body to publish an accessibility statement before 23 December 2018. We think the new regulations are a great step forward to ensure that no person with a disability or impairment faces barriers that stop them from accessing vital information and services via public sector websites and apps. And the consultation offers a wonderful chance for you to have your views of digital accessibility heard and to shape the future of digital Britain.
Dementia Action Week, which aims to encourage people to take action to improve the lives of people affected by dementia, is coming up soon (May 21 - 27). According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are around 850,000 people in the UK who are living with dementia, and one person develops dementia every three minutes. But it doesn’t just affect the elderly, with more than 40,000 people in the UK under the age of 65 affected by early onset dementia. Older people have specific access needs Dementia Action Week focuses attention on why brands must support the access needs of our ageing population. They form a huge group of older customers that is set to grow even bigger. According to the OFCOM Communications Market Report 2017: “In the UK, 14.3 million people are aged 60 or over; 2.9 million are aged 80 or over. From 2012 to 2032 the populations of 65-84 year olds and the over-85s are set to increase by 39% and 106% respectively, whereas 0-14 and 15-64 year olds are set to increase by 11% cent and 7% respectively.” And because most health conditions, impairments and disabilities (including dementia) are acquired with age as we grow older, this area of population growth will create more access issues. Digital exclusion and age We talk about silver surfers – the OFCOM market report states that more than half (53%) of over 74’s now have internet access at home, up from 45% in 2016 – but what about digital exclusion for older people? How easy is it for them to use a company’s website to find information and do everyday tasks, like setting up a customer account or paying a household utility bill? Many older people will have visual impairments or physical mobility impairments that mean they need support to access content and services on websites. This underlines why it’s crucial to design all websites, apps and other digital communications using accessible design, including designing websites and apps to WCAG 2.0 Level AA as a minimum standard. Companies like United Utilities and South East Water also use web accessibility software Recite Me on their websites to help their older customers to access the services and information on their respective websites. The Recite Me’s accessibility and language toolbar lets these customers, and those with disabilities, format websites in the way the suits them best. For example, customers with visual impairments can change the font size, change the font colour and background colour contrast, and opt to have the text read aloud to them. These features allow people with conditions like visual impairments to easily access information on websites and do the key tasks they need to do. 100’s of organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible to older people and people with disabilities – book your free demo now or call on 0191 4328092 to find out more.
User experience (better known as UX) refers to all the parts of an end-user's interaction with a brand, and its services and products. Ultimately, UX is about understanding what the experience of interacting with a brand is like from the customer’s point of view. In terms of websites, UX includes usability and accessibility, or how well a website works for the end-user and for end-users who have a disability. Research shows that poor usability and accessibility forces end-users to click away from websites. Many disabled customers click-away from inaccessible websites For example, the Click-Away Pound Survey looks at the online shopping experience of people with disabilities and the cost to businesses of ignoring disabled shoppers. According to the results of the 2016 survey: Seventy one per cent of disabled customers with access needs will click away from a website that they find difficult to use. Those customers who click away have an estimated spending power of £11.75 billion in the UK. Eighty two per cent of customers with access needs would spend more if websites were more accessible. These results are surprising when you consider that the spending power of disabled people and their families in the UK is £249 billion. (Source: DWP Family Resources Survey 2014/15). But disabled people represent a huge market that is largely ignored. Not only does poor web usability and accessibility mean lost sales for brands, it also makes customers unhappy, which can cause long-term damage to brands’ reputations. Web accessibility is crucial for great service online So if your brand provides a service through your website then your website must be accessible. For example, if you are a utilities company, can a customer with a disability like dyslexia or low vision use your website to do essential tasks like paying a bill? Usability and accessibility can be improved by building accessible design into your digital design process from the start of any project like a new web-build. And you can carry out user testing with a range of people with disabilities, and those without, to get feedback on the usability and accessibility of your website. You can also add web accessibility software like Recite Me to quickly and easily improve the accessibility of your website. Companies like United Utilities, South East Water and Arriva UK Bus already use Recite Me on their websites to help their customers with disabilities to access their services and information online. Recite Me’s accessibility and language toolbar lets their customers with disabilities do things like change the font size, change the font colour and background colour contrast, and opt to have the text read aloud to them. These features allow people with disabilities like dyslexia and low vision/no vision to access information on websites and carry out the key tasks they need to do online. So by adding Recite Me to your website you can offer great customer care online. 100’s of organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible to people with disabilities – book your free demo now or call on 0191 4328092 to find out more.
There’s just one week to go to get your entries in for the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2018. They are the only awards to highlight the charities, businesses and volunteers throughout the UK that use the power of technology to improve the lives of others and make the world a better place. Now in their eighth year, the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards are organised by digital accessibility charity AbilityNet and sponsored by BT. We are thrilled that Recite Me is also a sponsor of the awards, plus we donate our web accessibility software to the awards website. And we’ve also supported this year’s awards by taking part in a co-ordinated Thunderclap campaign to get as many people as possible taking about and entering the awards. Entry into the awards is free and open to any business, charity, individual or public body in the UK. The AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2018 categories are: • AbilityNet Accessibility Award • BT Connected Society • BT Young Pioneer â€¨ • Comic Relief Tech4Good for Africa Awardâ€¨ • Community Impactâ€¨ • Digital Health Awardâ€¨ • Digital Skills Awardâ€¨ • Tech Volunteer of the Year You can nominate yourself for an award, or your organisation/group, or another person or organisation/group that has invented or adapted digital technology to help other people. And there’s a networking event on 12th June at BT Tower in London. Recite Me Founder & CEO Ross Linnett, said: “The AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards do a brilliant job of highlighting those who use digital technology help to change people’s lives for the better. “As a tech inventor and entrepreneur myself I love seeing who will create the technology of tomorrow. “And it’s great that Recite Me can help to support the awards by being a sponsor and donating our web accessibility and language toolbar for the awards website. “Do you know a person, company or group who has used digital technology to create a new invention that helps other people? If you do, you should nominate them now!” Entries close at 6.00 pm on 9th May (next Wednesday) so get your skates on and enter the AbilityTech4Good Awards now!
It’s MS Awareness Week this week (April 23 - 29), which aims to help raise awareness about the condition, and raise funds, so that no one has to take on MS (Multiple Sclerosis) alone. MS Awareness Week is organised by the MS Trust and there’s loads you can do to get involved this week to help support people living with MS. Why does MS Awareness Week matter? More than 100,000 people in the UK have MS, which is a neurological condition that affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. It’s almost three times more common in women than it is in men and most people are diagnosed with MS in their 20s and 30s. MS can be bewildering for young people in particular and to coincide with MS Awareness Week the MS Trust has launched a brand new YouTube channel for young people aged 11 to 17, who are affected by MS, called MSTV. How can I support MS Awareness Week? You can support MS Awareness Week in a number of ways, including joining the Be Bold in Blue campaign. You can use your social media profiles on platforms like Twitter and Facebook to help raise awareness of MS. You can follow The MS trust on Facebook and Twitter and share or retweet their posts. You could also tweet facts about MS, download and share some MS Awareness Week infographics turn your profile photo blue for the week to show your support. Recite Me supporting MS Awareness Week To coincide with MS Awareness we decided to turn the Recite Me logo blue this week to show our support. We also want to get the word out there about how web accessibility can help people with MS. Web accessibility software like Recite Me’s web accessibility toolbar can help to make websites more accessible to people who have MS in a number of ways. Firstly, MS can affect a person’s mobility, which means that if they find it hard to use a website (for example, to scroll through text). So they can use Recite Me to have the text read aloud to them, at the click of a button. Also, MS can affect a person’s vision. By using the Recite Me toolbar people who have MS can use it do things like zoom in, increase the font size, and change the font colour and background colour contrast, in order to read web content more clearly. 100’s of organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible to people with conditions like MS – book your free demo now or call on 0191 4328092 to find out more.
By Morgan Lobb, CEO of VERCIDA Nearly seven out of ten jobseekers (69%) think that employers and recruiters should make online job applications more accessible for disabled people. That’s according to the results of a new survey of 112 jobseekers carried out by Recite Me and VERCIDA in March 2018. The results also show that just one in three jobseekers (33%) think that employers and recruiters currently do a good job of making online job applications accessible for disabled people. These findings echo those of the 2017 RIDI candidate survey of 200 jobseekers with disabilities conducted by The Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI) in partnership with VERCIDA. The new survey we ran last month also shows that only 26% of jobseekers think that employers and recruiters do a good job of making online job applications inclusive for people who don’t speak English as their first language. And nearly half of jobseekers (47%) think employers and recruiters should do more to make online job applications inclusive for people who don’t speak English as their first language. These results may be surprising to some but at VERCIDA we understand how important it is for our online diversity and inclusion recruitment platform to be accessible and inclusive. VERCIDA is a highly accessible web platform having completed a 60 hour audit by the Shaw Trust ensuing even those with mobility, visual impairments or dyslexia can access the site. We also use Recite Me’s accessibility and language toolbar on our website to further help disabled people and those who don’t speak English as their first language to access online job applications. And 10% of jobseekers who took our recent joint-survey think that the Recite Me accessibility and language toolbar has helped them to access job adverts and applications on VERCIDA by supporting their disability access needs. I’m very pleased to be able to say that because it shows how valuable the toolbar is for jobseekers who use VERCIDA. However, the results of the survey also show that employers and recruiters must do a better job and making online job applications more accessible and inclusive. And to do that there’s no better place to start than by talking to the team at Recite Me. Try Recite Me for yourself with a free demo 100’s of organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible and inclusive – book your free demo now or call on 0191 4328092 for to find out more. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please call 02037405973 or email email@example.com for more information.
Sam Renke is an actress and disability campaigner. She often shares her stories about her experience of using public transport. So we’ve asked her to write a two-part guest blog about how accessible transport is. In part one of her guest blog below Sam talks about what it’s like for a person with a disability to find their way around London using public transport. Prominent public figures such as Anne Wafula Strike, Frank Gardner and me have all been going public with stories of horrendous acts of discrimination when using public transport. And the whole ‘debate’, if we can call it that, surrounding inaccessible public transport for people with disabilities and others with additional needs has once again reared its ugly head. Our stories are picked up by various media platforms and people shake their heads at the disgraceful treatment of disabled people. Then everyone agrees it’s not acceptable and it shouldn’t be happening in twenty-first century Britain. Then. Then…well, nothing really. Nothing much changes. Talks subside until the next dreadful incident and people with disabilities, and others with additional needs, struggle to live independently. I often question if in fact we are living in a third world when I read the hundreds of news articles and tweets about how people with disabilities, and others with additional needs, suffer when using public transport. The stories range from people being left for hours on a plane, wetting themselves due to no accessible toilet, being bruised after being man-handled inappropriately off an aircraft, to simply being shouted abuse at by bus drivers who favour push chairs to prams. I too have had my fair share of nail biting, uncomfortable and down-right humiliating travel experiences and I honestly have not noticed much positive change. I moved to London just over six years ago, leaving my very rural Lancashire town called Leyland to pursue my dream in the Big Smoke. For me the biggest appeal of London was the fact that it is just a melting pot of cultures, languages, religions, foods and customs. The diversity drew me in completely. However, I soon became very disappointed by the lack of accessibility for people with disabilities and others with mobility issues. Not only are the majority of the underground services inaccessible, pavements are often in poor conditions and buses never really seem to understand priority spaces. Only black taxis are legally obliged to have ramps installed, meaning any journey would cost you a small fortune. Buildings, restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs favour being authentic and trendy over being accessible, with lots of venues being upstairs, in basements or simply too small. (I think the word used is quaint!). London favours maintaining authentic, historic architecture over accommodating the 13.3 million people in the UK with a disability or additional needs, not to mention the growing ageing population who also could use some extra help when out and about. I quickly realised I needed as much help as I could get if I wanted to maintain my independence in London. So I applied for the following schemes that help people with disabilities in London to access public transport. Taxi Card This gives you subsidies when travelling by Black Taxis and you can apply for a Taxi Card from your Local Authority. The snag is you are only allocated a small amount of ‘rides’ depending on your ‘disability’ per year. I receive 104 swipes a year and you need to use at least two swipes for one journey. This means I can only use my taxi card once a week. Yes, because us disabled folk only leave the house once a week for doctor’s appointment, right?! Disabled Persons Rail Card This gives you a third off for you and your PA (aka personal assistant, or carer) on rail journeys. You do, however, have to pay for an annual card – it’s not free. But, if you travel on trains frequently, like I do, it’s a good investment. Freedom Pass This gives you free travel across tubes. But let’s face it, hardly any of the tube stations are accessible. It also covers over-ground rail, busses, park and ride’s, etc. But, the pass excludes PA’s/carers. CAI Card The card enables a disabled cinema visitor to receive a complimentary ticket for someone to go with them when they visit a participating cinema (e.g. their PA/carer). I’ve also found some useful apps and websites that help to know where is best to go for accessible buildings and everyday goods and services: Access Advsir - accessadvisr.net Neatebox - neatbox.com assist-Mi - http://www.assist-mi.com I hope you find them useful too. Sam
Keystone Law is not your typical law firm. Their motto, “Where innovation delivers results,” perfectly summarises their modern approach to law. Launched in 2002, the firm prides itself on doing things differently, using a bespoke technology platform and modern working practices to revolutionise an industry that is often viewed as archaic. The firm has shunned the typical partnership structure that is present within most law firms. Lawyers are free to work from whichever location best suits them and their clients which is why accessible technology is so crucial. Recite Me spoke to Georgiana Foster recently, PR and Communications Manager at Keystone Law, who shared more about the firm’s decision to incorporate Recite Me’s software onto the firm’s website. “The sector as a whole is still playing catch up in terms of website design and accessibility for.” Georgiana explains, “If you look at a lot of traditional law firm websites, they’re incredibly corporate which often results in a lack of visual excitement. What’s also missing is the opportunity for clients to quickly drill down into the information they need.” In contrast, Keystone Law’s website features attractive colours, accessible menus, and clear text with minimal legal jargon. When the firm floated on the London Stock Exchange back in November 2017, the move gave rise to an even greater demand, both from an investment and general public perspective, to have a website that was both inclusive and accessible to all. When the majority of users are accessing legal websites for assistance with sensitive and, often complex subjects the element of accessibility becomes all the more important. As Georgiana explains, “There’s a real element of loyalty and trust that comes with making content more accessible. We don’t just want a client to visit our website for 30 seconds and not get what they need. We want them to be engaged and genuinely read what’s available. Now, we are providing them with the right tool to do that.” “Accessibility is also important from a reputation perspective,” says Georgiana, “If your organisation isn’t seen as doing the right thing morally, the consequences could have a real impact from a PR perspective. We want to make sure that we’re maintaining the right profile for ourselves as open, transparent and accessible.” Going forward, it seems clear that law firms around the world should start taking their accessibility requirements seriously, particularly in today’s hyper-competitive market. Georgiana concludes with some advice on how more firms can begin addressing accessibility in the modern legal world. “Change can be daunting particularly when there is a hefty cost and a lengthy sign off process to contend with, which is often the case in the more traditional firms. But accessibility is actually simple to achieve, with a wealth of potential benefits, you just have to choose the right partner.” To find out more about Keystone Law, visit https://www.keystonelaw.co.uk/ To find out more about Recite Me, including how you can book a free demo, visit http://www.reciteme.com/book-a-demo
What does it take to win a RIDI award? We caught up with Ben Weston, Head of Business Services at Guidant Group, to find out. Guidant Group recently won the RIDI Awards 2018 Supply Chain Management Award, and we spoke to Ben about how he and his team work to help improve disability confidence in Guidant’s staffing supply chain. Guidant Group is an expert recruitment outsourcing provider, and at the core of what we do for our clients is provide expertise to the process of recruiting top calibre employees and professional contractors, so that they can focus on what they do best. We are privileged to partner with a range of very well-known organisations in both the Private and Public sector. Our relationship with these clients is such that they understand that we can use our influence to do a lot more than simply provide shortlists of CVs. And one of these areas which is very close to our hearts is in ensuring that we help them with their diversity and inclusive recruitment policies. Encouragingly, an increasing number of these clients are asking us to seek out partnerships with staffing firms who are also on the Disability Confident journey, and it’s vital that we respond to this. We have therefore taken a proactive approach to building Disability Confidence within our own supply chain as we know that their support is vital if we are to attract and engage more disabled talent onto our clients’ programmes. I am fortunate to say that my job role is very wide ranging, from ensuring that our dedicated delivery teams can commit to 100% role fulfilment through the right suppliers, through to supporting our clients through legislative changes which affect the process of recruiting staff and the holding of data. Our organisation operates a promise-based culture and we make promises to one another internally as well as to our clients and suppliers, all with the target goal of being the most trusted staffing business in the industry. One of my personal promises for this year is focussed on an area which is very close to my heart, ensuring that 100 of our supplier partners achieve Disability Confident Level 2 status by the end of this year. As a Disability Confident Level 3 Leader we have a belief right across our business that we can have a significant impact on the industry we operate in and that we should encourage all of our suppliers to start their own Disability Confident journey. To date 38 of our suppliers (and 17 of our clients) have signed up to the government’s Disability Confident scheme, however, we are acutely aware that this is not enough and there is more work to be done. That’s why we continuously strive to lead by example, share best practice and set out the business case for Disability Confidence. In 2016 we started working with the DWP to co-host Disability Confident events for our suppliers, clients and strategic partners. The DWP came and spoke about the Disability Confident campaign launch, the disability employment gap, and the facts about how easy most organisations found making reasonable adjustments for disabled employees. This helped to dispel myths about the language to use when speaking to disabled candidates and the costs involved in making reasonable adjustments. We are planning more Disability Confident events in partnership with DWP for our supply partners, and are also looking into whether we can supplement these events with complimentary resources which will help them on their journey to becoming Disability Confident. These resources include our Guide To Digital Inclusion For Recruiters which we created recently in partnership with our web accessibility partner Recite Me.
The continuous growth of digital communications is changing talent development throughout the world. What was once just known as e-learning, which was focussed around e-learning platforms hosted on websites, has now expanded to become known as digital learning. Digital learning now incorporates everything from ebooks to webinars, and podcasts. And a whopping 90 per cent of businesses now offer digital learning to their employees, according to the LinkedIn 2018 Workplace Learning Report. Thus employers now depend on digital and online learning solutions including e-learning platforms to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse and ageing workforce. Employees value career development more than ever Employees increasingly value being given training including digital learning. 94 per cent of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development, according to LinkedIn’s report. The report also shows that 68 per cent of employees prefer to learn at work, and 56 per cent would take a course suggested by a manager. But whether you deliver digital learning that is formal, informal or mixed learning, you must ensure that you meet the access needs of your workforce, now and in the future. This is particularly relevant in the UK when you consider what our workforce will look like in the future. What does the future of the UK’s workforce look like? We are living longer and our population is becoming both older and more diverse. It’s also growing. Because the population is growing there will be a larger workforce for employers to draw talent from. But the ageing and more diverse nature of our growing population also matters greatly and it will present particular challenges to employers. Let’s look at a few of the numbers and why they matter. Firstly, people aged over 65 will make up a quarter of the population by 2045, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics last year. If you compare that to the 17.8 per cent figure for 2015 you can appreciate the growth of people in this age group. And according to some projections, 40 per cent of the UK population will come from a migrant background by 2050. A changing population means changing access needs Because the UK has an ageing, growing and diverse population this creates significant issues around accessibility and inclusion. For example, around one in five people in the UK have a disability at present. As most disabilities are acquired with age, the older you get the more likely you are to become disabled, with any associated access needs. Plus of course those from migrant backgrounds, especially those who don’t speak English as their first language, will have language access needs. They need to be able to access e-learning platforms and other digital learning tools in a language they can understand. The more complex the topic and the language used, the greater the need for a chance for employees to learn in their own language. Even if they then transfer the knowledge they’ve learned in their first language to use it in English in the workplace. This means employers must find ways of making digital learning tools like e-learning platforms accessible and inclusive to people with a wide variety of access needs. Recite Me can meet the access needs of your diverse workforce Organisations like The Grey Matter Group are already doing this by using Recite Me’s accessibility and language toolbar. The Grey Matter Group works with organisations across the health and social care sectors to improve lives through learning. It does this by supporting health and social providers with online learning and assessments The Recite Me toolbar has been added to their website to allow people with a range of access needs to use their online learning resources in the way that suits them best. Recite Me supports people with common disabilities like sight loss and dyslexia in a number of ways. They can use the Recite Me toolbar to change font type or font size, change the text colour and the background colour, and access a full dictionary and thesaurus. They can also use Recite Me to have the text on the website read aloud to them. This combination of features makes Recite Me a great accessibility tool for people with disabilities like sight loss and dyslexia. Recite Me also translates written information on the website into over 100 different languages, which means people can easily access digital learning resources in their first language. Recite Me’s unique combination of these features offers a simple way for all employers to future proof their organisations and make their digital learning platforms accessible and inclusive. Recite Me can make your website’s digital learning more accessible and inclusive for your increasingly diverse and ageing workforce. It will also help you to comply with the law. Book your free demo now.
Recite Me is delighted to welcome Dutchess County, a suburban community approximately 60 miles north of New York City with a population of nearly 300,000 residents, as one of our first clients in the United States. The father of a daughter living on the autism spectrum, Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro in 2015 launched the “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” initiative to foster a more welcoming and supportive environment for individuals living with special needs. A large component of Dutchess County’s “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” efforts is accessibility – the county has funded accessible infrastructure, among other projects, for example – and making government easy to access for all residents is a priority for Mr. Molinaro. “Every resident of every ability deserves a voice in their community and the opportunity to easily interact with the local government that serves them,” Mr. Molinaro said. “In Dutchess County, we’re proud to ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ about our neighbors of all abilities and take steps to ensure they have access to the services and programs that will help them thrive.” Dutchess County’s endeavors to “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” about individuals with special needs have extended beyond its own geographic borders; dozens of towns, cities and villages throughout New York State have adopted resolutions to similarly support inclusiveness in their communities. Additionally, Dutchess County has launched its “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” website, www.thinkdifferently.net, which will offer families of residents with special needs a resource to navigate the comprehensive array of local services available to them. To make its new site even easier for all users, Dutchess County has incorporated Recite Me’s accessibility software; the same software has been used on the County’s website, www.dutchessny.gov, since mid-2017. “Whether it’s the option of downloading an MP3 of a page on our website, changing the font size and color to make text easier to read, or having text on the screen read to the user, Recite Me offers visitors to our site numerous enhancements to assure a more accessible experience,” said Richard Byrne, Project Leader for Dutchess County’s Office of Central & Information Services (OCIS), which oversees the county’s information technology infrastructure. In September 2016, Mr. Molinaro selected Toni-Marie Ciarfella, PhD, as Dutchess County’s Deputy Commissioner for Special Needs, a high-level administrative and managerial position responsible for evaluating, planning, initiating, coordinating, and monitoring the wide range of programs designed to help individuals and families with special needs. Dr. Ciarfella’s position was the first of its kind in New York State. The addition of Recite Me software on its websites, Dr. Ciarfella said, is the latest example of Dutchess County’s ongoing efforts, under Mr. Molinaro’s leadership, to improve the quality of life for individuals of all abilities. “When residents or visitors to Dutchess County, regardless of ability, interact with us in person at events, use the telephone to obtain information about a particular service, or now search our websites for information,” Dr. Ciarfella said, “their county government can connect with them in the manner that best and most efficiently meets their needs.” To find out more about Recite Me, including how to book your free demo, visit www.reciteme.com
By Ross Linnett, Recite Me Founder & CEO What does it take to create more job opportunities for disabled people? It’s a burning question for recruiters and employers. There are many examples of the answers among the inspiring stories of those involved in the Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (aka RIDI). Just take the RIDI Awards 2018 winners. RIDI creates disability confident recruiters The RIDI Awards 2018 winners were announced last night at the awards ceremony, which was hosted by XL Catlin at its head office in London. These are the only UK awards that exclusively celebrate the commitment of employers to improve the prospects for disabled jobseekers. RIDI creates disability confident recruiters and helps remove the barriers faced by the millions of disabled people who are looking for work. It’s an honourable mission, and one which we are very pleased to be able to support. Recite Me supports RIDI Recite Me is a RIDI Silver Partner and we are thrilled to be able to support RIDI by donating the Recite Me accessibility and language toolbar for the RIDI website. My colleagues Martin Robertson and Andy Syson attended the awards on behalf of Recite Me, and it was a real pleasure that they could attend to represent us. On behalf of me and the rest of the team at Recite Me, I’d like to congratulations each of the winners for their tremendous achievements. The RIDI Awards 2018 winners are… Getting Started Award winner: John Lewis Partnership Individual Choice Award winner: CarmichaelUK Extending The Reach Award winner: Amey Consulting Reasonable Adjustments In Recruitment Award winner: Manpower Group Disability Confident Award winner: The Civil Service Supply Chain Management Award winner: Guidant Group Training & Development Award winner: Lloyd’s of London Disability Specialist Award winner: Pluss Greatest Impact Award winner: Manpower Group You can find out more about each award winner and what they did to win an award by reading the RIDI Awards 2018 brochure on the RIDI website.