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A pencil eraser erasing the 'in' from 'inaccessible'

Services Australia Access and Inclusion Unit make a real difference to workplace accessibility

The Access and Inclusion Unit at Services Australia is making a real difference to workplace accessibility. The unit currently provides support and training to around 700 staff who use assistive technology. Operating through a national service desk, it provides support services to people who have an injury, a medical condition or disability including vision and hearing loss, limited mobility or cognitive disability.

Support and training for assistive technology is delivered to staff in real time, over the phone and virtually via screen sharing capability. The unit tailors its support to the needs of the individual, often using inbuilt features of assistive technology software to automate tasks.

In this way, the unit improves the working lives of those who need to work differently. Nicole Collins, who has been using speech recognition software, Dragon, for around 13 years, says she is grateful for the unit’s support in solving many issues that she couldn’t have resolved alone.

“The support staff showed me how to work through repetitive computer based tasks in my role using Dragon. This has reduced my keying and my pain. I am more effective and I feel more included in the workplace thanks to their ongoing support,” Nicole says.

The unit exemplifies how initiatives can influence a more accessible and inclusive workplace culture, remove barriers and create opportunities for staff. The department is a recognised industry leader. In 2018, it was highly commended in Comcare’s ‘Recovery At and Return to Work’ Award and the APS Diversity Awards in 2018.

You can find out more on Employment support for people with disability and workplace diversity and inclusion on the department’s website.