Innovative Practice 2018 on Accessibility

A sucessful business model to train service providers in accessibility

Access Israel, established in 1999, is a non-profit organization headquartered in Tel Aviv that promotes accessibility and inclusion to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities and the elderly. The organization has developed a business model for training service providers regarding issues of accessibility, which includes educating staff about the challenges that persons with disabilities face and providing them with the know-how and practical skills regarding accessible services and solutions for their organizations. More than 35,000 service providers have been trained since the start of the project in 2009.

“Thanks to Access Israel we do our best to provide the customer accessible service beyond what the law requires.”

Avi YuktanVP Service, Ikea Israel
About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:A sucessful business model to train service providers in accessibility
Organisation:Access Israel
Country
of Implementation
Israel

FACTS & FIGURES

  • From 2014 to 2017, more than 35,000 service providers in Israel have gone through the Access Israel training.
  • At the start, there were 1–2 activities per week on average; in 2017 there are 1–2 activities per day, and sometimes more.

PROBLEMS TARGETED

Every public service provider in Israel is required to provide its staff with accessible service training, but budgetary problems and lack of know-how lead many service providers to overlook this training.

SOLUTION, INNOVATION, AND IMPACT

Access Israel’s trainings consist of a preparatory session to understand the accessibility conditions and all accessibility-related complaints within a particular organization, and it then offers customized training solutions. In this way, solutions for every budget can be found.
All trainings are experiential and innovative, e.g., workshops in which participants experience what it is like to walk in a disabled person’s shoes; and simulations of accessible services performed by disabled instructors, whereby service providers are given immediate and practical tools to provide accessible service. To follow-up the successful implementation of theses trainings, Access Israel sends people with disabilities as customers to check the level of improvement regarding accessibility and quality of service.
In all trainings there are four pillars to remove the barriers and enable true integration:

  • Increasing knowledge on disability, accessibility, and the specific accessibility arrangements within the organization.
  • Breaking the glass wall: All activities include people with disabilities who speak for themselves, thus enabling participants to get to know the person behind the disability.
  • Experiencing disabilities first-hand.
  • Paying it forward: Providing tools to make a change in the services provided and the integration of people with disabilities possible.

People receiving consultation about accessibility simulations by an information booth.OUTLOOK, TRANSFERABILITY AND FUNDING

The project shows substantial growth in the number of activities. At the start, there were 1–2 activities per week on average; in 2017 there are 1–2 activities per day, and sometimes more. Moreover, the variety of modules and training kits has grown, allowing more customization at a relatively low cost.
People sitting in an auditorium listening to a simulation on headphones.All training modules can be realized by local organizations and abroad, as the training kits and e-learning methodologies can be translated into other languages. Furthermore, Access Israel runs regular train-the-trainer events on a global scale, giving international organizations the opportunity to adopt and implement the business model in their respective countries.
In about two thirds of the cases the service providers pay for the training; and for one third Access Israel finds grants, governmental agencies, or ministries that help by subsidizing.
The project was well received at the 2016 UN Habitat III Conference in Ecuador, and the organization has received requests to perform their trainings at the next conference in New York City in 2018. Additionally, Access Israel will provide trainings for service providers in June 2018, also in New York.
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