A training designed and organized by young people with disabilities to empower community workers
- Together: Access & Inclusion Training
- Country of Implementation
- Start Year
- First published
“As a disabled facilitator, I’ve learned so much from my co-facilitators and participants within the training about what access and inclusion is.” Bridget Jolley, Together Training Facilitator, Youth Disability Advocacy Service
Together: Access & Inclusion Training – setup by Youth Disability Advocacy Service (YDAS), a local Australian NGO based in the state of Victoria – is an online and in-person accessible training programme for individuals and organizations working with young people. It is entirely designed and delivered by people with disabilities and centred around storytelling and lived experience. Between 2018 and 2023 the project has grown substantially, and currently has 1,647 participants.
Organizations and individuals who work with young people usually do not have the skills, knowledge, or understanding that they need to make their practice accessible and inclusive in ways that affirm the lived experience and identities of disabled young people.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
Together Training is designed to equip persons and organizations working with young people to be more accessible and inclusive for disabled young people. This includes those who are working in in local government youth services, with homelessness, with alcohol and drugs issues, with the LGBTIQA+ community, etc. Usually, the expertise of these youth workers is limited when it comes to the specific needs of disabled young people. YDAS’s Together Training is entirely led, managed, designed, and delivered by disabled people – meaning that lived experience and storytelling is part of every element of the training. In 2021 seven new disabled staff members, including five as young co-designers and facilitators as well as a program officer and program manager, were hired to re-design and deliver Together Training from 2021 to 2024. Disabled people identified the need, applied for the grants, and were hired to design and deliver Together Training. By embracing accessibility and best practices, participants experience what genuine access and inclusion can look like – from both the shared content and the ‘leading by example’ delivery. In 2022 and 2023, 40 free sessions along with 75 sessions that were paid for by clients from across Australia were organized. In addition, from mid-2021 to mid-2023, 35,000+ people accessed Together’s online resources about access and inclusion.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
The programme was setup and funded (annual cost of US$236,000 in 2020) with grants from the National Disability Insurance Agency and the Australian Department of Social Services, two governmental agencies. (Awardee 2024)