A sucessful business model to train service providers in accessibility
- Access Israel
- Country of Implementation
- Asia & Pacific
- Start Year
- First published
“Thanks to Access Israel we do our best to provide the customer accessible service beyond what the law requires.” Avi Yuktan, VP Service, Ikea Israel
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.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
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. 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.
THE STORY OF REVITAL SWIRSKI, MUNICIPALITY COUNCIL MEMBER TRAINED BY ACCESS ISRAEL
“The PR department has added the option of send- ing complaints by SMS.”
My name is Revital Swirski-Shurtz. I am a council member in Kiryat Bialik, a municipality in northern Israel. As a person using a wheelchair, I am very much aware of the need for accessibility and am very active in promoting accessibility in my municipality. My municipality employees have attended three accessibility training sessions conducted by Access Israel, in addition to their famous “Accessibility Tastes Dinner” for the management team. Besides the fact that the employees were all very moved and excited by the training, one consequence has been that the Collection Department – which has a lot of interaction with the local residents – installed accessibility systems for the hearing and vision impaired, added accessible seats to the waiting area, and even installed an accessible watercooler. The employees have become much more sensitive to and aware of the needs of people with disabilities and say they now feel more confident to communicate with them. Another innovation is that the Public Relations department has added the option of sending complaints by SMS and has provided a special customized service for people with disabilities. Further, all official ceremonies and events are now fully accessible. More and more residents with disabilities have started to feel comfortable in their interactions with the municipality, and so attend more events and deal more independently directly with the municipality.