Chris Jay Announced as a Keynote Speaker at Diversity in Higher Education Conference
Chris Jay, the Managing Director of Bascule Disability Training, has been invited by the organisers of Westminster Insight’s Diversity in Higher Education Conference to be a keynote speaker at the event.
The conference is scheduled to take place on Thursday 21st May 2020, and will address a range of issues such as exploring the importance of diversity in Higher Education, how to embed EDI into a University’s strategy, as well as reviewing charters such as the Athena Swan and Race Equality Charter.
Chris will be delivering a presentation entitled -'CASE STUDY- Exploring how Universities can become Certified Disability Confident Leaders' -drawing on his previous experience and close involvement with The University of Southampton in enabling them to become the sector’s first Disability Confident Leader.
Chris will present at 14.30 on the day and will address the following points:
- How to make disability confident accreditation meaningful, and go beyond surface level engagement
- Creating mechanisms and policies to value and listen to feedback from disabled staff
- Breaking down barriers to the development and progression of disabled staff
- Exploring areas such as language, disability definition, etiquette, disclosure and physical accessibility
- Making reasonable adjustments as required to promote a culture of being Disability confident Questions and Discussions follow
Other key points the conference will cover include:
- Establishing diverse leadership teams in Higher Education
- Embedding equality, diversity and inclusion into every aspect of your University
- Implementing comprehensive EDI training for your institution
- Addressing Issues around the BAME and Gender Pay Gap
- Supporting staff who experience discrimination and abuse
- Implementing inclusive recruitment processes to attract diverse talent
- Establishing inclusive University policies to nurture supportive workplaces for women in academic positions
With 91.6% of professors being white, only 1 in 4 being women, 4.9% declaring as being disabled and only one black Vice-Chancellor in the whole of the UK, the HE sector is undoubtedly behind other sectors in championing diversity and inclusion. As the Diversity and Inclusion agenda gains momentum for the student population, creating a more inclusive and diverse staff network at our Universities is paramount for the progress of Higher Education institutions. Westminster Insight’s Diversity in Higher Education Conference will explore strategies to diversify leadership teams, implement EDI training to all staff and review recruitment processes across institutions.
To see the full agenda of the day and to book a place at the conference, CLICK HERE USE CODE ‘HZDTZO’ for a 20% discount!
New Year Resolutions to Improve Inclusivity
It’s the turn of a new decade, and the perfect time to reflect and consider your workplace culture. Chris Jay- the Managing Director of the social enterprise, Bascule Disability Training- has six suggestions for pro-active, New Year Resolutions that will enable organisations of all sizes to improve business and customer service- by becoming more inclusive organisations.
Resolution 1- Increase your potential customer base by 22%
What better New Year resolution could you have than to improve your clientele by a vast percentage? By making a few basic changes to the way you run your business, and becoming more inclusive, you’ll do exactly that. According to the latest government reports there are close to 14 million people in the UK living with a disability- (one in five people)- so, gaining access to this potential customer base is certainly worth consideration. Think about making small steps at first- asking yourself whether your website is accessible, whether your premises can better support people with disabilities, whether your recruitment process is inclusive and most importantly, whether your staff have had any disability awareness training.
As staff become more disability aware, and the business becomes widely perceived as an inclusive organisation, your business’s services will reach the radars of people with a disability. After all, can you really afford to ignore a group with the spending power believed to be approximately £1.8 billion per month?
Resolution 2- Enhance customer loyalty
Further to increasing your customer appeal, becoming a business that is renowned for being disability aware, will mean customer loyalty is enhanced, by both the customers you target and the staff you employ. People with disabilities are generally very loyal to any organisation that declares a commitment to inclusivity. By making adjustments, both as an employer and a business, customer loyalty will certainly increase.
Resolution 3- Improve customer communications
When considering the improvement of any form of customer service, it’s a good idea to remember the following statistic- ‘67% of the British public feel ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘awkward’ talking to disabled people’ (Scope 2014). Consider for a moment how this discomfort or awkwardness may impact the way in which your client facing staff communicate. By training staff members, you can, not only change staff perception and understanding of disability, but also gain increased awareness and improve communication. This will make your customer service more efficient and accessible to new customers.
Resolution 4- Create a comfortable working environment where staff work to their best potential
With a vast majority of disabilities being ‘hidden’ (or unable to be visually identified), it is highly likely you already employ more people with disabilities than you already know about. Without an inclusive culture that embraces disability, it may be that they are not comfortable disclosing this, which could mean they are not properly supported and therefore could be unhappy or failing to work to their best potential.
Resolution 5 -Gain access to new talent
Becoming an inclusive organisation means you are able to access a whole new pool of talent. When you stop to think that 18% of working age adults in the UK are disabled, it becomes clear that there is a good case for directly appealing to this group. An inclusive workplace will give your business appeal to a whole new audience, and therefore you will attract a wider audience of high calibre candidates.
Resolution 6- Gain positive publicity
Your journey to becoming an inclusive organisation will present many opportunities to gain positive publicity as you should proudly shout about your achievements and openly display your dedication to inclusivity. On the other side of the coin, a negative occurrence can have a catastrophic impact, damaging your brand and your reputation for providing a good service.
Disability in the UK- the positives vs the negatives
There’s no two ways about it- Purple Tuesday is a fantastic thing! For those that don’t know, Purple Tuesday is an international date, created last year, to focus on changing the customer experience for people with disabilities.
On 12th November 2019, businesses of all sizes got involved, and many took decisive, practical actions to meet the needs of customers with disabilities.
As we at Bascule have been saying for quite some time, the consumer spending power of people with disabilities and their families is not to be ignored- and is in fact worth around £249 billion and rising by an average of 14% per annum. Worldwide, this is said to equate to a staggering £2.25 trillion. However, less than 10% of businesses have a plan to access this market.
Purple Tuesday is about developing awareness of the value and needs of customers with disabilities- and making the customer experience accessible- two areas that are again, close to Bascule’s heart. To visit the Purple Tuesday website and see the number of businesses that have signed up, is definitely encouraging.
However, earlier last month, research revealed that we may not be making as much progress as we’d like to believe.
The international disability charity, Leonard Cheshire, revealed that in 2018/19 disability hate crime rose by a shocking 22 per cent in the UK. It also reported a 71% rise in online hate crime. Unfortunately, although 5,000 disability hate crimes were reported to the police last year, only six per cent were sent to the Crown Prosecution Service or received a charge or summons.
It appears that society is pulling in two different directions, and although on one hand we appear to be progressing, on the other, there seems to be significant problems at the root of how disability is perceived in our country.
At Bascule, we enable businesses to become more inclusive and much like Purple Tuesday, we illustrate the business benefits of being an accessible organisation. However, our work doesn’t stop there. As a social enterprise, we put the proceeds of our training into schools to help create a better understanding, empathy and awareness of disability for children.
Whilst Purple Tuesday is gaining momentum and is a wonderful day for business to assess their level of accessibility- the other side of the coin must be addressed too.
If hate crime is increasing as widely as it is, we must address the bigger human issues of empathy and understanding and perhaps consider an increase in such things as awareness training in schools.
Yet, despite the workshops for schools being offered free of charge to schools, take up has been poor, school timetables are full with core subjects and the schools do not appear to have time for such important enrichment activities that tackle this degree of misunderstanding. The PSHE association has shown that time for this important subject has fallen 32% in just four years.
At Bascule, we have decided to attempt to address this issue, by reducing the rates of our business training by 20% up until 2020, to encourage more businesses to take up our awareness programmes- in a bid to reach more schools with the free awareness days business training creates.
Hopefully, as more and more businesses recognise the financial benefits of inclusivity- (through campaigns such as Purple Tuesday)- we can use this positive progress to drive home more awareness in schools, allowing us to also combat the negative issues that evidently exist.
For more information on business training- and to learn about how you can create an opportunity for a school of choice to receive disability awareness training CLICK HERE.
Bascule lowers costs of disability awareness training to combat rise in hate crimes
A recent soar in hate crimes against people with disabilities has led Bascule to offer businesses in Hampshire, Sussex and London a reduced rate for disability awareness training.
Following October’s release of a report that revealed a shocking 22% national increase in disability hate crime since last year, (and a 71% rise in online hate crime), Bascule Disability Training has announced it will offer a 20% discount on its disability awareness training for the remainder until January 31st 2020.
By doing so, it hopes to encourage businesses to become more inclusive. The proceeds from each business using Bascule’s training services will fund a day of free awareness training at a school of their choice to further improve attitudes and awareness of disability.
Bascule works with businesses to create inclusive business environments and workforces through interactive bespoke modules and workshops. Its training empowers workers with a firmer understanding of all areas of disability, covering issues such as correct use of language, understanding, etiquette, communication, legislation and the development of inclusive business environments.
Bascule already works with schools to promote inclusion, understanding and empathy amongst children and young people. This training is designed to give children a strong understanding of disability, allowing them to learn about the needs, challenges and unique life experiences of people with disabilities.
Chris Jay, the Managing Director of Bascule explains, “According to Scope, 53% of people with disabilities say that they have experienced bullying or harassment at work because of their impairments, so the workplace is certainly an environment that could benefit from awareness training. Disability Awareness also provides a whole host of business benefits, improves staff attraction and retention, creates a positive profile and enhances customer service.”
“Any business in Hampshire, Sussex or London will not only receive our bespoke awareness training package-they will also fund a local school awareness day, helping children to develop a more positive understanding and empathy towards others with a disability.”
Bascule’s 20% offer will last until 31st January 2020. If you would like to find out more about Bascule Disability Training’s awareness training packages, contact 0330 3800662 or- firstname.lastname@example.org
Imogen attends a roundtable discussion on the experience of disabled students
Our Marketing and Media Assistant, Imogen Steele, was recently invited to attend a roundtable discussion organised by Policy Connect and the HE Commission. Policy Connect is a cross-party think tank improving people’s lives by influencing policy. The event aimed to analyse the experience of disabled students at university.
Former students with disabilities and their representatives, attended to give evidence on their experiences of higher education. The roundtables will gather evidence as part of the Higher Education Commission’s Disabled Students Inquiry, which is being led by former Labour MP Lord David Blunkett, alongside Lord Norton of Louth and Kathryn Mitchell, Vice Chancellor of the University of Derby.
The inquiry is supported by a number of commissioners, including representatives from the National Union of Students, Disability Rights UK, and the National Association of Disability Practitioners.
Here is a brief account of the event from Imogen.
Last week, I was fortunate enough to attended Policy Connect’s roundtable event held at the House of Lords, which was organised as part of the Higher Education Commission’s inquiry into the experience of disabled students. As a disabled graduate, I welcome this inquiry as a much-needed opportunity to improve the provision of support for disabled students at University.
Whilst there have been improvements to equality legislation in recent decades, disabled students are often frustrated and let down by their university experience. This inquiry, which is co-chaired by Lord David Blunkett, former Secretary of State for Education; Commission Chair Lord Norton; and Vice Chancellor of the University of Derby, Kathryn Mitchell, aims to advise government and the education sector on how to remove the barriers disabled students face and provide them with the support they need.
I sat on the roundtable with eight other student representatives discussing different aspects of university life, including ‘teaching and learning’ and ‘living and social’. We identified some of the main challenges disabled students have to confront and highlighted good practices already instituted in some universities which allow for effective support.
During the event I emphasised the lack of practical support offered by university support staff and the poor planning of the accessible accommodation which was located all together in one place and thus counterintuitive to inclusion and equality.
It was very enlightening to hear other disabled students share their experience of university. This event severed as a great reminder to me of how varied and diverse disabilities are and the wide range of support needed to help students succeed. However, there were definitely some commonalities when it came to the obstacles we had faced during our studies.
The HE Commission will publicly report on its findings and recommendations in early 2020.
Imogen Steele, Marketing and Media Assistant at Bascule Disability Training
To read Imogen's recent blog about ways in which universities can improve the services they provide to students with disabilities, CLICK HERE
How universities can improve their support for students with disabilities
Imogen Steele recently joined the Bascule team as a Marketing and Media Assistant. Here she provides us with a blog that describes her experiences at university, explaining how her the shortcomings of the uni made life as a student with a disability very hard...
With the school system often failing students with additional needs, the number of individuals with physical disabilities reaching higher education has historically been low. For this reason, I believe that universities have had little need to establish support provisions for disabled students. While it must be recognised that most universities provide excellent support for those with specific learning disabilities, like dyslexia, physically disabled students are often left to fend for themselves. I myself have cerebral palsy quadriplegia and graduated last year from a Russell Group University with a first-class honours’ degree. In this article I suggest a few reasonable adjustments that would have been extremely helpful during my degree.
A timetable where all my classes would be based on one campus would have been great. This was an adjustment that my university assured me would be put into place throughout my entire degree. However, my timetable in every year of my degree was split between various university sites despite my persistent efforts at the start of every semester to remind timetabling of my needs. At one stage, I had to get a taxi twice daily from one campus to another. Furthermore, a timetable that would have allowed me to get from one class to another without being late would have been much appreciated and was indeed promised. Yet in one semester I found myself with only ten minutes to travel between campuses from one lecture to another. Easily accessible rooms with adjacent disabled parking would have also made the practicalities of accessing my lectures a great deal less stressful.
A student support service which was permitted to provide practical support to physically disabled students would have made my university experience more straightforward. As it turned out I was required to hire a personal assistant to meet all of my support needs, as the support staff at my university, like at most universities across the UK, were prohibited from pushing a lightweight manual wheelchair due to health and safety regulations. While the university were more than willing to provide a notetaker for lectures, these notetakers would meet students at the door of the lecture theatre, a practice which was entirely useless if like me, you needed help carrying your bag and books to the lecture room. There was also lack of contingency planning, as when the University support staff assigned to me for the morning called in unwell, I was left to get in and out of a lecture theatre on the seventh floor of a building and abandoned without support for five hours, causing me to miss my afternoon lectures.
The issuing of a university library card to my personal assistant would have proved an invaluable reasonable adjustment. This would have impacted the ease with which I could access the library as my PA would be able to collect books for me when I was unable to get onto campus due to my health condition. Whilst the University were not resistant to the idea of allowing my personal assistant to possess a library card, they informed me that they did not have the technical infrastructure to issue a card to an individual who was neither a student or staff member.
I would like to have seen accessible accommodation that was integrated in university halls. As the accessible halls I toured when looking around various universities resembled disabled ghettos, with most of the accessible accommodation situated in a few flats close to each other. While, of course, there are practical considerations when building accessible accommodation such as wet rooms, this placement of the accessible rooms exemplifies the sheer discrimination that disabled students have to endure. There would be outcry if students were allocated accommodation based on ethnicity or sexual orientation, yet it is deemed acceptable to group all those with physical disabilities together.
A medical exemption form for extensions that did not require me to submit duplicates of the same hospital letter explaining how I could not complete university work the day after taking a specific medication due to its side effects each time I applied for an extension would have made the process easier. One would assume it would be possible for the university to keep such a letter on file.
However, while my university displayed a reluctance to put into place reasonable adjustments to support disabled students at an institutional and administrative level, I feel that it is important to recognise that my lecturers were extremely supportive and accommodative in regards to my needs. This was exemplified to me as at one stage during my degree my lecturers tried persistently to change the lecture theatres that they taught in so I would not have to go from one campus to the other. Moreover, the head of faculty acted as my personal academic tutor and was extremely helpful in securing my support needs whether that would be notetaking, exam arrangements or medical extensions.
Nevertheless, I hope this article outlined reasonable adjustments that universities can and should put in place to support students with disabilities. Indeed, these adjustments, if successfully implemented, would have made my time at University a lot more enjoyable.
Imogen Steele, Marketing and Media Assistant, Bascule Disability Training.
Did you hear the one about the accessible wet room with a step…?
The hazy definition accessibility in hotels
As someone who is a wheelchair user and a regular hotel guest, booking an “accessible” room has always been quite a bugbear for me, and not something that has gotten much easier over time.
Don’t get me wrong, a majority of the hotels I visit have flawless customer service. Members of staff are always pleasant and are clearly well trained, but here’s where it all falls down. Each hotel chain appears to have a different definition or understanding of what accessible is.
To give you an example, when I book a room, I always call the hotel to be certain that they are aware of my needs. Fast forward to the moment I arrive, (often after a long day of travel) and when I enter the room, I discover that this hotel’s definition of accessible is simply having a wet room. (By The way, the title of this blog may sound like a joke- but it is actually something I have experienced first-hand).
This does not count the number of times that something has been lost in translation and the ‘wetroom’ is a actually a bathtub with grab rails, (this for me, is the ultimate disaster as it often requires that I either change hotels or spend the following day unwashed!). Even more infuriating is arriving late to a hotel to find that your reserved accessible room has been allocated to someone else (sometimes without a disability) and you are then left with a standard room!
Entry to the room is difficult and manoeuvring around is virtually impossible as there are tables, desks, and chairs that completely obstruct me from accessing at least half of the room, a half which- I hasten to add -I have paid for. (Not only is this dangerous, it is also a fire hazard). Simply getting through the difficult gaps is a time consuming and arduous task. In fact, it has in the past to have been enough of a physical challenge to cause significant damage to the frame and wheels of my wheelchair.
After struggling to move furniture, I eventually call on the staff to come up and rearrange the room to – well let’s face it – make it ‘accessible’.
I have stayed in countless rooms that have claimed to be accessible but regularly, I have had to call reception and ask staff to open a window for me or even draw the curtains and after a long day of meetings, this is definitely something you would prefer to do yourself.
My point is simple- hotels, if you say you are accessible, understand what it is you offer. Perhaps communicate with the guest during the booking process and when they mention accessibility, ask if extra space for mobility is required, and if it is, ask if they would like that surplus furniture moved out of the room. More often than not, this issue is not about the size of the room but more about the number of ‘standard’ things that get put in it. Neither is it about the age of the building. In the last few days, I have stayed in a hotel which was built within the last 12 months and yet still this problem exists, in this case I could not get a wheelchair down one side of the bed, due to the air conditioning controls!
This level of consideration stretches beyond hotels and into any service or business that claims to be accessible. Using that ‘A’ word means you have a responsibility to ask yourself if your definition is accurate.
Service providers should reflect on whether there are areas of that declaration that need addressing or improving. You may claim to be accessible, but have your staff had disability awareness training? Maybe you are an ‘accessible shop’ with wheelchair access, but your disabled changing room is often used by the manager to hold unused stock?
In which case, it’s time customer consideration became as much of a priority to your business as customer service!
Chris Jay- MD – Bascule Disability Training
The difficult journey through mainstream education as a disabled student
Imogen Steele recently joined the Bascule team as a Marketing and Media Assistant. Here she provides a blog that describes her experiences and the barriers she endured throughout primary education and how a lack of understanding of disability is causing the system to fail children with disabilities...
Born in the middle of August 1995, I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when I was sixteen months old. I started school in 2000 with a statement of educational needs. As a disabled child educated in a mainstream school, my parents and I had to constantly fight to ensure that I received equal opportunities to excel in education. In my primary education it proved crucial to struggle against what seemed to be the prevailing assumption that physical disabilities were symbiotic with learning difficulties.
This false idea of disability was reinforced by specialist teacher advisers who were keen to place limits upon my educational potential in meetings with my teachers, proclaiming that I would never grasp the concepts of maths, reading and spelling. Such pessimistic statements hardly encouraged teachers to try to help me learn, as my intellectual capability was mistakenly presented as predetermined by my disability. Indeed, the fact that I was slow to read, write and spell, due to weak eye muscles and perceptual difficulties convinced the school that I belonged in the lower sets. They failed to recognise that my difficulty in reading derived from my disability rather than a lack of comprehension.
When I was in year three, I asked my mum “why am I in the dumb class?” prefacing this blunt question with the phrase “I mean no disrespect”. After this my parents arranged for me to be assessed by an Educational Psychologist. The results that followed showed that I was in the top two percent for verbal reasoning among children my age. The school were then forced to place me in the higher sets. As well as a reluctance to go beyond traditional educational methods to make education accessible to those with additional needs, my mainstream school also demonstrated a keenness to use the support allocated to meet my personal needs to support others who were struggling or misbehaving, depriving me of the provision I required.
Before the start of every academic year my parents would arrange to meet with my new teacher, bringing with them a dossier of information about cerebral palsy. Whilst some teachers were very receptive to this, others showed an outstanding lack of understanding of my disability throughout the year in which they were my teacher. For example, one of my teachers instructed another student to give me colouring in lessons, a pointless exercise for a child who struggled to hold a pencil because of muscle spasms. On the other hand, Mr Nelson cemented his place as my favourite primary school teacher when he threw my artwork in the bin, remarking that I could do better. He was the only teacher who ever expected more from me. He did not give me any special treatment but taught me as if I was just another student.
Moreover, my primary school displayed a discriminatory attitude towards me. I was only permitted to go on school trips with the rest of my class if I was accompanied by one of my parents to support me. Most appallingly, when I underwent multilevel surgery aged 10, the headmistress said I would not be able to come back to school with my leg in a cast as it would not be safe for me to use the toilet. When my mum asked, ‘why then are children who have broken their leg able to attend school in a cast?’ the headmistress replied, ‘Well, they at least have one good leg’.
Having started my primary school as a confident little girl who was not afraid to stand up in front of the whole school and recite a poem on her first day, I left year six with extremely low self-esteem which no doubt derived from my experience of the mainstream school system wherein I was singled out, placed in the wrong classes and abandoned as a lost cause as well as bullied by my peers for being different.
Following the end of my primary education and after a huge struggle on the part of my parents, wherein they were close to taking the council to tribunal, I was given a place at Kings School’s special physical department in Winchester. The physical department took six students each year and had a dedicated team of support staff. King’s constituted my educational salvation. They understood that just because you learn in a different way doesn’t mean that you have a low intellect. I was placed in all top sets and excelled academically, leaving the school with nine GCSE’s; five A*’s and four A’s. I was also supported on many different trips by support staff, including a three-day trip to Poland.
However, my parents and I still had to fight for some support provisions during my secondary education. The special department at Kings were particularly hesitant to allow me to start using voice-activated software until year ten. Yet after consulting the manufacturers of the software we were able to convince the school that using it from year 8 would be of great benefit to me and indeed it was. It is a software that I still use to this day.
I was very fortunate that I had proactive and determined parents who knew my rights. Without my parent’s intervention I would have been deprived of the opportunity to reach my intellectual potential, an opportunity that I believe is denied to countless children with additional needs who do not conform to the expected educational pathway. It is clear to me that many of the barriers I confronted during my primary education arose from an outrageous lack of understanding of disability.
By Imogen Steele- Marketing and Media Assistant at Bascule- Click here to learn more about Imogen.
Being aware of what you can’t see….
Disclosing hidden disabilities in the workplace
When most people think of disability, the first thing that usually springs to mind is a wheelchair user. If you think about it, the universal sign for disability is a wheelchair- so why wouldn’t we make that association?
Well, one reason is that only around 8% of the UK’s 14 million people with disabilities use a wheelchair, and an even smaller percentage of people with disabilities have visible evidence of their impairment, (such as assistance dogs or mobility aids).
So, what does this tell us? Well- it means that the vast majority of disabilities are actually ‘hidden’ or unable to be visually identified in any way. As a result, some disabilities tend not to receive the recognition more visible disabilities receive and can therefore, often go unacknowledged both in society and the workplace.
So, why hide?
Many people who have hidden disabilities choose to keep this information to themselves. This can happen for a vast range of reasons. Some people feel that they may face being stigmatised at work, others worry that their colleagues may perceive their disability as a weakness and therefore choose not to disclose. Some fear they may be pushed out, or lose their role or position. Some people avoid disclosure through worry that colleagues and managers may ask questions or offer unwanted sympathy or attention.
The list goes on. The fact is, unless you simply choose not to disclose because of your own privacy, then it’s likely your employer isn’t providing an inclusive environment, where staff are empathetic, understanding and foremost, disability aware.
When it comes to hidden disabilities and the workplace, a lack of awareness is by far the biggest obstacle and the main contributor. Take for example, a recent study from OnePoll of 1,000 employed adults, commissioned by national charity Crohn’s & Colitis UK. This report revealed that only fifteen per cent of people questioned believed that Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis – the two most common forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease – were ‘acceptable’ reasons to call in sick.
The study also found that a third of workers have lied about their reason for calling in sick, over fears of stigma in the workplace. It also found more than half of respondents who suffer a long-term health condition feel they have to downplay their condition at work.
So, why disclose?
In another study, the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) in the US, calculated the value of disclosing disability and found that employees with disabilities who disclose to people they interact with, are more than twice as likely to feel regularly happy or content at work than employees with disabilities who have not disclosed to anyone (65% versus 27%). They are also less likely to regularly feel nervous or anxious (18% versus 40%) or isolated (8% versus 37%).
Raising awareness encourages people to be confident and comfortable in disclosing and discussing their disabilities, helping colleagues to be more understanding, and people with disabilities to gain the support they need to improve their working lives.
Once an individual feels comfortable with the disclosure of their disability, they can receive the support they may need to function better, as well as the accommodation that might better support their disability, which will inevitably make them a happier more productive member of staff. They will also be relieved of the stress and pressure that hiding a disability may be causing.
By developing disability awareness in the workplace, a more understanding and inclusive environment is created.
It’s also important to remember that training and educating managerial staff is particularly important here, as this will cause a level of awareness to trickle down to the organisations’ other staff members, creating a much more supportive workforce.
For more information about creating an environment where people are comfortable disclosing their disability- go to our training pages, or call 0330 3800662
Bascule Welcomes Imogen!
Bascule Disability Training is delighted to welcome on board, Imogen Steele- who joins us as an Marketing and Media Assistant helping with our copywriting, marketing content and social media.
We asked Imogen a few questions to learn more about her, her interests and her connection to disability awareness….
Tell us about your background?
I was born with cerebral palsy quadriplegia. I have always been a determined and humorous individual. Educated in the mainstream school system, I struggled throughout my primary schooling to get the support I needed to reach my potential. My parents therefore had to fight so that I could receive the educational opportunities that I was entitled to. I was accepted into Kings School Winchester’s special physical department after much confrontation with the council who did not want to fund my place. It was during secondary school that I started to use a voice-activated computer. Last year, I graduated from university a with first class honours degree in history. During my degree I focused upon ancient and mediaeval history, writing my dissertation thesis on the use of propaganda during the wars of the roses. Throughout my entire education, I had to constantly fight to ensure that reasonable adjustments were made in order for me to access my classes and complete my work. My experience in education has cemented my desire to pursue a career working with disadvantaged communities and minority groups to prevent acts of discrimination and uphold the rights of all.
What brought you to Bascule and why do you have an interest in promoting disability awareness?
As a disabled individual, I have witnessed first-hand the barriers that those who have disabilities face in society, particularly within the education system. With Bascule offering disability awareness training not only in the workplace but also in higher education institutions, this company helps to promote the positive change needed to make society more accepting of those with disabilities. For this reason, I am looking forward to joining the Bascule team and promoting important social change.
What are your hobbies and passions?
I am an avid wheelchair rugby player and currently play for the Solent Sharks. I also enjoy horse riding, swimming and rowing. I relish any opportunity to visit historical sites and museums. I love engrossing myself within a TV boxset or a film and also appreciate a good book. I am passionate advocate for all human rights and believe in egalitarianism. In my spare time I enjoy baking and creating gluten-free cakes and sweet treats.
What do you hope to achieve whilst working with Bascule?
Working with bascule, I hope to help create a society wherein disabled individuals no longer have to struggle and fight to receive equal opportunities in education and work. I believe the best way to do this is through the education and awareness training that Bascule provides.
What motivates/ inspires you?
My motivation derives from my determination to exceed the limitations that society and medical professionals were keen to place upon me at a young age. I am inspired to help others as my mother has devoted her life to fighting for my rights and I now wish to fight for the rights of all disabled people.
What is your favourite movie?
I love most films but my favourite would probably have to be Spy starring Melissa McCarthy.
Tell us one strange or unique fact about yourself!
I once took part in a cookery demonstration with the Michelin star chef Michael Canes where he accidentally squirted lemon juice in my eye providing much hilarity for myself and my family watching in the audience.
Chris Jay, the Managing Director of Bascule Disability Training, has been invited by the organisers of Westminster Insight’s Diversity in Higher Education Conference to be a keynote speaker at the event. The conference is scheduled to take place on Thursday 21st May 2020, and will address a range of issues such as exploring the importance of diversity in Higher Education,...
It’s the turn of a new decade, and the perfect time to reflect and consider your workplace culture. Chris Jay- the Managing Director of the social enterprise, Bascule Disability Training- has six suggestions for pro-active, New Year Resolutions that will enable organisations of all sizes to improve business and customer service- by becoming more inclusive organisations. Resolution 1- Increase...
There’s no two ways about it- Purple Tuesday is a fantastic thing! For those that don’t know, Purple Tuesday is an international date, created last year, to focus on changing the customer experience for people with disabilities. On 12th November 2019, businesses of all sizes got involved, and many took decisive, practical actions to meet the needs of customers with...
A recent soar in hate crimes against people with disabilities has led Bascule to offer businesses in Hampshire, Sussex and London a reduced rate for disability awareness training. Following October’s release of a report that revealed a shocking 22% national increase in disability hate crime since last year, (and a 71% rise in online hate crime), Bascule Disability...
Our Marketing and Media Assistant, Imogen Steele, was recently invited to attend a roundtable discussion organised by Policy Connect and the HE Commission. Policy Connect is a cross-party think tank improving people’s lives by influencing policy. The event aimed to analyse the experience of disabled students at university. Former students with disabilities and their representatives, attended to give evidence on...
Imogen Steele recently joined the Bascule team as a Marketing and Media Assistant. Here she provides us with a blog that describes her experiences at university, explaining how her the shortcomings of the uni made life as a student with a disability very hard... With the school system often failing students with additional needs, the number of individuals with physical...
The hazy definition accessibility in hotels As someone who is a wheelchair user and a regular hotel guest, booking an “accessible” room has always been quite a bugbear for me, and not something that has gotten much easier over time. Don’t get me wrong, a majority of the hotels I visit have flawless customer service. Members of staff are...
Imogen Steele recently joined the Bascule team as a Marketing and Media Assistant. Here she provides a blog that describes her experiences and the barriers she endured throughout primary education and how a lack of understanding of disability is causing the system to fail children with disabilities... Born in the middle of August 1995, I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy...
Disclosing hidden disabilities in the workplace When most people think of disability, the first thing that usually springs to mind is a wheelchair user. If you think about it, the universal sign for disability is a wheelchair- so why wouldn’t we make that association? Well, one reason is that only around 8% of the UK’s 14 million people with disabilities use...
Bascule Disability Training is delighted to welcome on board, Imogen Steele- who joins us as an Marketing and Media Assistant helping with our copywriting, marketing content and social media. We asked Imogen a few questions to learn more about her, her interests and her connection to disability awareness…. Tell us about your background? I was born with cerebral palsy quadriplegia....