There’s a huge range of roles linked to the access and inclusion agenda. Job roles include disability awareness trainer, access advisor, local authority access officer, diversity and inclusion officer, access consultant, access and inclusion manager, access and facilities manager and more.
Here are some of these job roles and profiles:
I’m Natasha Davies and work as the ASAS access advisor at the Centre for Accessible Environments. I have been a wheelchair user since the age of 13. My role at CAE involves working with charities and community-based organisations in London to help make their buildings and services more accessible and inclusive. Many older buildings have not been built with accessibility in mind, as a result of this they often exclude many disabled people within the community. It is really rewarding to re-visit the organisations once their access projects have been completed to hear how the improved accessibility benefits the community. The work of an access advisor is interesting and varied. It can involve working on access projects in theatres, art galleries, transportation and housing. I hope the CAE Pathways training programme will inspire more disabled people to pursue careers in the field of access and inclusion.
Access and inclusion manager
I’m Pip Jackson and I work as an access and inclusion manager for the Estates Department of UCL. I have been registered as blind since the age of 13 and my joint degeneration, that affects my mobility, started around the age of 18. My role at UCL involves advising on built environment accessibility and inclusion for all of our building stock. The role also involves working with our staff and student networks to ensure that their concerns regarding the built environment are taken on board; as well as reviewing the standards and policies of the division to ensure that they are inclusive of all.
A lot of our building stock is listed or in a conservation area and so making the environment more inclusive is a greater challenge and part of the job I love. Seeing the difference an inclusive environment can make to individual lives, allowing everyone to reach their full potential, is what makes me keep going each and every day. I hope each of you undertaking the pathways course sees your disability not as a negative in the workplace but another skill set that you bring whether that be as an access consultant, architect, planner etc. The only way to get real change in the built environment is for people with disabilities to have a strong voice in all areas of building and environment development and management.
Architect and inclusive design consultant
I’m Chris Harrowell and work as a freelance architect and inclusive design consultant. I have been deaf since the age of 5 and use a cochlear implant. My role involves improving the built environment to be more inclusive for all users. I work with design teams on new build and refurbishment development projects to push the envelope beyond minimum standards. This ranges across the whole spectrum of housing, schools, universities, sports, leisure and entertainment venues, public and commercial buildings, healthcare, defence, transport, conservation, external environment and the countryside. No two days are the same and there is always something new to discover, particularly from the unique perspective of disability and the changing global environment. Just because I am deaf does not mean that I speak for all deaf people and the same applies to any disabled professional working in this field. We all need to consider the broader viewpoint and balance the sometimes conflicting requirements of different disabilities through inclusive design. There is no one size fits all and it is not always easy to get it right. Consultation and constructive input delivers inspiring and innovative results and the Pathways programme is a great opportunity to continue this momentum.
I’m Angela Heeley and I’m a chartered architect. I run my own practice, which undertakes mostly domestic projects ranging from house extensions to individual detached houses. I’m also autistic, which means that my brain processes information in a different way. This brings some challenges, such as with social communication and sensory overload, and I often need help with everyday tasks. My work involves interpreting a client’s requirements into a building that will make effective use of the land available, satisfy the complex criteria of the Building Regulations, and look aesthetically pleasing. It’s an interesting and satisfying job, with lots of different tasks such as surveying existing buildings, producing computer drawings, and ultimately designing the new structure. Sometimes I also make models to help to explain my ideas. Eventually, the project can be built, and it’s always a great thrill to drive past a building that I designed.