The Accessibility Tick is very pleased to announce that Sandra Budd has joined the Accessibility Tick team as a Relationship Manager.
Sandra brings with her a wealth of experience and knowledge. Her previous roles include Chief Executive and senior executive in the Australasian public health, disability and not-for-profit sectors.
She has led national and multi-state initiatives modernising services within the NZ Blind Foundation, South Australian Children Youth and Women’s Health Service, NSW’s Greater Southern Area Health Service and Auckland Healthcare’s maternity and neonatal services.
Sandra has a strong background in organisation transformation and building social enterprises. She is also an experienced board director, sitting on existing Boards and and Advisory Groups.
She has had considerable experience in community engagement and relationship building. As a certified member of Australasian International Association for Public Participation she works with people to build compelling desired futures.
It is important to note that our programme and network wouldn’t exist without Sandra having supported us in her role as Chief Exectuive of the Blind Foundation. It was Sandra’s foresight and support that enabled us to get started, and become what we are today.
We are certain that you will agree, Sandra is a positive addition to the Accessibility Tick and NZ Disability Employers’ Network whanau.
Sandra looks forward to meeting our members in the near future.
3rd December 2020
International Day of People with Disabilities is a United Nations gazetted global event on December 3rd celebrating the achievements of people with a disability.
This year, during the annual celebration of people with disabilities, the 2020 theme ‘Not all Disabilities are Visible’ also focuses on spreading awareness and understanding of disabilities that are not immediately apparent, such as mental illness, chronic pain or fatigue, sight or hearing impairments, diabetes, brain injuries, neurological disorders, learning differences and cognitive dysfunctions, among others.
We are pleased to be supporting a number of events in recognition of this day and encourage you to support them in their various events.
Air New Zealand Disability Social Enterprise Christmas Market
Air New Zealand’s employee network, The Enable Network invites you to join a Christmas Market in the courtyard of our Fanshawe Street office on Thursday, 3 December 2020. This market is in recognition and support of International Day of People with Disabilities.
The market will involve a number of social enterprises that are run by or employee people with disabilities. The market will include businesses such as The Cookie Project, Downlights, Drink My Coffee and many more.
What: Christmas Market
When: Thursday 3rd December 2020, 12.30pm – 2.00pm
Where: Air New Zealand hub building, 185 Fanshawe Street, Auckland
‘Hidden disabilities through a digital lens’ – webinar
Free 90 minute “lunch and learn” webinar event presented in partnership by Access Advisors, Access Alliance, Accessibility Tick, and Tech for Good. We’re delighted and excited to bring you an incredible line-up of speakers sharing their experience with hidden disabilities.
Purple Light Up – 24hr global broadcast
#PurpleLightUp is a global movement that celebrates and draws attention to the economic contribution of the 386 million disabled employees around the world.
24-hour Global Broadcast, bringing together CEOs, senior champions, network / ERG leaders and disabled employees to connect, share their stories and feel the power of change via webinars, interviews, panel discussions and more.
The Oceania region is kicking off this event from 11am to 2pm. After that follows 21 hours of international content as it works its way around the globe.
What: 24hr global online broadcast
When: Thursday 3rd December, 11am – 2pm (NZ time)
Continuing for 21 hrs after this with content from around the globe.
Changing Places Open Day
Changing Places are accessible public toilets that meet the needs of those unable to self-transfer without assistance. Changing Places NZ are pleased to invite you for a tour of their facility at Westfield Newmarket.
What: Changing Places Open Day
When: Thursday 3rd December 2020, 11am – 2.00pm
Where: Westfield Newmarket, Level 3, near the carpark.
Phone 021 141 9005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Up to 2-hours free parking available with the Westfield Plus app.
Paralympics Spirit of Gold Mufti Day
Parlalympics New Zealand will be staging a nationwide Spirit of Gold® Mufti Day, asking people to wear GOLD to work and donate to them. We’d love for you to take part on this official day, but you can run a Mufti Day at any point in your calendar.
Why not consider having a mufti day at work (or school) and taking a gold coin donation for them.
More information and a toolkit are available on their website.
Spirit of Gold Mufti Day
Thanks to the great team at Adecco for pointing this one out to us.
We are busting disability employment myths. People with accessibility needs are quite often discriminated against based on incorrect information. We are seeking to educate people about their true value, one myth a week.
If you are wanting help changing your organisations outlook, checkout our
Programme page for more information on the Accessibility Tick and how it helps organisations improve their disability inclusion.
Myth #1: Disabled people are too much of a health and safety risk
Fact: Employees with disabilities have less health and safety incidents than their peers.
“Disabled employees often have fewer health and safety issues than non-disabled workers. This is because in managing their impairment from the start, the employer and the employee will have developed strategies to address the health and safety risks. Whether your employee is disabled or not, your approach to health and safety should remain the same.” – Business.govt.nz
We believe it is even more than this. As people, those who have an accessibility need are managing risks daily, they become experts at it and they bring those expertise to the workplace. Many companies have reported better health and safety outcomes by having them onboard as they share their experience/expertise with the greater team.
Myth #2: Disabled people take too much sick leave
Fact: Employees with disabilities take less sick leave on average than their peers. One Australian study says 85% less.
Myth #3: Disabld people are less capable and do lower quality work
Fact: Surveys have found that 90% of disabled people rated average or better than their peers on job performance.
Myth #4: Disabled people don’t stay long enough in a job
Fact: NZ Statistics* show that disabled people are loyal, on average staying with employers over 50% longer than their peers.
*Stats NZ – Disability Employment Statistics
Myth 5: We don’t have anyone with a disability in our organisation
Fact: 24% of New Zealanders have a disability. 80% of those disabilities are hidden. Still think you don’t have anyone with a disability in your organisations?
Myth 6: It’s expensive to employ a person with a disability
Fact: Most disabled people do not require anything additional to do their job. When they do, there are support programmes and funding available.
Research has shown that the benefits of hiring disabled people outweigh any expenses, ultimately leading to a better bottom line.
Myth 7: People with a disability can only do basic unskilled jobs
Fact: People with a disability bring a range of skills, talents and abilities to the workplace. Many have tertiary and trade qualifications. They know their abilities and are unlikely to apply for jobs they can’t do.
Congratulations to Powerco, who have recently achieved the Accessibility Tick reflecting their focus and commitment to disability inclusion.
Emma Bennett, Group HR Manager says it’s confirmation Powerco is on the right track. “We’re committed to offering an equitable and accessible workplace for our team. We are firm believers that accessibility needs shouldn’t be a barrier to participation in the paid workforce. It’s up to organisations like ours to educate ourselves and do better.”
“We’ll continue to challenge our thinking and explore new ways to make Powerco a great place to work, for everyone,” she adds.
The Accessibility Tick Employers’ Network is made up of 27 of New Zealand’s leading organisations committed to the inclusion of people with disabilities, chronic health conditions and facing mental health crises.
We have a vision of New Zealand becoming the most accessible and disability inclusive country in the world.
To achieve this, we need to inspire change.
- We recognise and advocate that supporting a person with a disability is more than just getting them a job. It is empowering them to have a meaningful career.
- If you want organisations to change their behaviours you to need to show them how the changes are beneficial, then support them to lead the changes themselves.
- Practical programmes like the Accessibility Tick are essential to supporting organisation transformation.
We hope this video encourages people to think about accessibility and ask the same questions we did when creating our vision.
- What could be done?
- What should be done?
- What must be done?
Members of the Accessibility Tick and its Employers’ Network are:
ACC, Adecco, Air New Zealand, ASB Bank, Auckland District Health Board, Blind and Low Vision NZ, Counties Manukau District Health Board, Fidelity Life Assurance Company, Hind Management (Sudima Hotels and Novotel Christchurch Airport), Jacobs, MATTR, Meridian Energy, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Development (Bay of Plenty), nib NZ, Powerco, Quentosity, Ricoh, Scentre Group, SkyCity Entertainment Group, Taikura Trust, The Warehouse Group, Toyota New Zealand, Vector, Waitemata District Health Board, and Westpac.
Very few people will be able to claim that COVID-19 has not increased their stress levels in some way. Whilst New Zealand as a country has managed through their lockdown exceptionally well, many New Zealanders are at risk of, or are already in, a mental health crisis.
As an employer, it is in your interest to support your staff through any challenges they may be facing to their wellbeing. Beyond any legal requirements, benefits of getting this right can include:
- More engaged staff with a stronger employer/employee relationship
- Increased performance and reduced absenteeism
- Better quality staff retention and increased loyalty
- Reduced workplace accidents
We wanted to share with you some of the online resources that we have come across over the past weeks to support you in these efforts.
If you have other resources that may be of value, please let us know so that we can share them as well.
The Staying on Track course introduces easy-to-use, practical strategies to cope with the stress and disruption of day-to-day life as an impact of COVID-19. The page also includes a number of resources that can assist your team to maintain their mental health.
Accessibility Tick partner BlueSkyMinds has prepared a number of resources to assist during these challenging times.
From mindfulness meditation practices by MBSR Trained instructors, links to other COVID-19 specific resources, suggestions of books worth reading and apps that assist. These are all worth checking out.
The ILO Global Business and Disability Network’s Mental health conditions at work online course is a great set of short 15 minute e-learning modules followed by a short 5 minute quiz aimed at –
- Combating stigma and raising awareness
- Manager training
- Resonable accommodations
- Return to work
- Employment strategies for persons with severe mental health conditions
The Five Ways to Wellbeing (Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, Give) are proven to help people find balance, build resilience and boost mental health and wellbeing. The Five Ways to Wellbeing can also support workplaces to meet their health and safety obligations to manage risks to mental health and wellbeing.
This toolkit can help you build a strategy if you don’t already have one.
Mood Gym (Australia)
Moodgym is like an interactive self-help tool which helps you to learn and practise skills which can help to prevent and manage symptoms of depression and anxiety.
With over 1 million users worldwide, it is a fantastic resource to assist during these times.
R U OK? (UK)
This is a great resource for if you have concerns about someone’s mental health. It provides guidance on how to start and hold a conversation with them in a safe and supportive manner.
Simple steps that could change a life.
Heads Up – Better Mental Health in the Workplace (Australia)
A treasure trove of resources for all sections of workplaces, both large and small. Here you will find some great resources for the organisations, employees, managers and even small businesses.
Note: A number of these resources have accessibility flaws. We were unable to find resources that were developed with full accessibility in mind, but considered that the overall benefit to those who could access them outweighed not sharing these due to their incomplete accessibility. If you need assistance in making them available to staff with accessibility needs, please reach out on email to email@example.com.
There are many things that you can do to ensure your virtual meetings are usable by everyone, including those with accessibility needs. I thought that we would take the opportunity to share a few of them with you –
Assume there are people who are blind, deaf, neurodiverse, have a physical impairment, or any other number of accessibility needs joining your meeting
Unless you have information to the contrary, you should always assume that there are people who have accessibility needs attending your meeting and make the meeting as accessible as possible.
To obtain information to the contrary, you either need to –
- Have existing relationships with each of the attendees and know they don’t need adjustments, or
- Ask attendees to declare their accessibility needs ahead of the meeting.
When scheduling a meeting ask something like the following –
Our organisation is committed to ensuring our meetings are accessible for everyone. In order to be able to participate in this meeting successfully, do you have any adjustments/accommodations that you would like us to make? If so, what?
Understand the accessibility features of the tools that you are using
Most the mainstream tools for online meetings and webinars have information publicly available regarding their accessibility features. Take the time to understand what is possible with your tool.
- Zoom – Accessibility Features (opens in new tab)
- Microsoft Teams – Accessibility Support for Microsoft Teams (opens in new tab)
- Google G Suite – User guide to accessibility (opens in new tab)
- Workplace by Facebook – Accessibility (opens in new tab)
Where you are using additional features of tools (such as whiteboards, chat, polling, etc.) understand the impacts that they may have on participants.
Have fit for purpose equipment
Quality audio visual equipment
Where at all possible, don’t just use a laptop’s built in web camera and microphone. Ensure that you use a high-quality web camera and microphone to ensure that everyone can hear and see you clearly.
Good quality broadband
Also ensure that you are connected to a suitable broadband connection to minimise the chances of any buffering causing issues with meeting members comprehension.
Ensure your materials are accessible
When creating your material, ensure that you follow accessibility best practices. This will require you upskilling to understand how to ensure they are accessible. You can do this by –
- Following online resources such as –
- Attending training courses
The Accessibility Tick Training and Partner Programme Catalogue has courses available to its members and the public on accessibility.
- Using in-built accessibility checkers such as that found in Microsoft’s Accessibility Checker (opens in new tab) or the Acrobat Pro DC Accessibility Checker (opens in a new tab).
Note: These accessibility checkers will help you with your accessibility but should not be used without other base knowledge as they don’t identify all accessibility issues.
Share material out before or at the start of a meeting
Sending materials to the attendees before actually starting can allow them the opportunity to use them should they encounter accessibility barriers with the live meeting.
The choice of which captioning technique you use will depend largely on the level of accuracy required, budget, needs of those in the meeting. Your options include:
- Professional caption service – engage with a professional captioning firm for the best outcomes. A couple of firms that provide this service are –
- PowerPoints in-built auto-captioning (opens in new tab) – please note that this will have a higher failure rate.
- Other out of the box Computer Aided Auto Captioners
If it is requested, you should engage a sign language interpreter. They will guide you through the process.
See the Sign Language Interpreters Association of New Zealand’s Interpreter Directory (opens in a new tab) for a list of interpreters.
Ensure everything on screen is audio described
If something is put up on the screen don’t assume that the audience has read it. Some people will be unable to interact with the visible content so ensure that you have verbalised it as well.
If you can’t verbalise it, then the content shared well in advance to allow those with accessibility needs to consume and subsequently comprehend it ahead of the meeting.
Say your name every time you speak
Ensure that the meeting has an understood convention that every time someone speaks they say their names. This will allow those using audio only links, who are blind or have low vision, or for everyone else where someone has just not labelled themselves correctly in the software, to understand who it is that is talking.
Have someone monitoring the chat
Ensure that you have someone monitoring the chat who can assist people with any accessibility challenges that they may raise.
Post URLs in presentation in the chat
When you share a link to something in the presentation, ensure that the link is also made available in the chat function.
Pause at key points and ask for feedback
People with various accessibility needs may not feel confident to interrupt you to ask a question. Ensure that you ask questions at set points and allow plenty of time for them to do so, including by chat if they prefer.
If one person is dominating the conversation, ensure to ask others for feedback as well.
This webinar series is now complete. Accessibility Tick members can access them in our Member Only Area under
Learning Modules / Webinars
During the COVID-19 lockdown (March / April 2020), Accessibility Tick will be putting on a number of free webinars.
We kicked it off with a webinar on Accessible Document Basics. Thanks to everyone who attended. A recording of this is available in the members only section of the website.
Disability Etiquette Basics
Our next free webinar is going to be Disability Etiquette Basics on Wednesday 8th April 2020 @ 10am.
We will explore the 6 generic areas of Disability Etiquette as published by the New Zealand Office for Disability Issues, as well as current accepted language. Presented with practical examples as to why these matter.
Watch out for more information on future webinars.
Having employers voices heard as part of the recent consultation for the government’s Draft Disability Employment Action Plan is essential. That is why members of the Accessibility Tick Employers Network (ATEN) have today submitted a submission outlining their consensus feedback on the Action Plan.
Supportive of the plans objectives, our employers’ network feels the plan should include provisions for –
- Recognising and proactively supporting an employer led body that is focussed on disability in the workplace from an employer’s perspective.
- Expanding from focussing on getting someone into work to also providing them with ongoing support that leads to a meaningful career aligned with their personal aspirations.
- Reviewing the supported employment model, heeding to employers’ input as a key stakeholder, ensuring that any changes best completement employers’ recruitment processes / approaches.
- Establish ways for government to lead the way in their own disability practices.
The ATEN Draft Disability Employment Action Plan can be found below –