Published 29 March 2023
Andrew Radnedge is a Senior Digital Product Management Officer at the Department of Communities and Justice and works to make sure that content is accessible to everyone.
We spoke with Andrew about his experience with workplace adjustments as a manager and his work in digital accessibility.
I work as part of the Digital Experience Team – a multi-disciplinary team of developers, user experience and product management specialists. We look after a wide range of products, such as websites and intranets for the department.
A huge responsibility of our team is ensuring that any content we publish to our websites or intranet pages is accessible. I guess you could say my team are the leaders of accessibility across the Department of Communities and Justice and take every opportunity to champion accessibility and how it’s applied across the products we manage and the 300+ Department of Communities and Justice employees who manage content on behalf of their division, branch or business unit.
Accessibility is a bit like an onion – there's so many layers to it – so we also work with employees throughout the business to ensure the content they create is also accessible. This means ensuring that content is written in plain English, that simple formatting is used, that PDFs are accessible, that when images and infographics are used, the alt text used conveys meaning for those using screen readers.
A lot of work has been put into the area of accessibility at the Department of Communities and Justice. We have the Disability Employee Network which is a great forum for people with disability to talk about the challenges that they have at work.
We also recently established an Accessibility Community of Practice, which is a staff network where we can share skills, collaborate, generate ideas, solve problems, and support each other to deliver accessible communications at the Department of Communities and Justice. It's great to see that our membership is growing fast, we've already had 300-400 staff join.
The goal of the Accessibility Community of Practice is to share the knowledge we have of accessibility with the wider DCJ staff network so that people on the frontline who are managing and creating digital assets understand accessibility and can apply it correctly.
ADNSW reached out to me because I’ve had someone with a disability, Josh Youkhana, working in my team for six years now. Josh has a visual impairment and requires some workplace adjustments. He was also featured in ADNSW’s Workplace Adjustment Series video, The importance of workplace adjustments.
When Josh first started in my team, there was no information available to managers about workplace adjustments. It was scary for me as a manager, thinking about how I was going to go through this process, but it was a great learning experience.
Today this has been completely turned on its head and there is so much information available to managers about workplace adjustments. The the Department of Communities and Justice Workplace Adjustments Passport is a great initiative and a good example of this in practice.
I'm still learning all the time about workplace adjustments.
Workplace adjustments starts before you even hire someone, at the job advertisement stage. You need to make people feel like their workplace adjustments aren't a barrier to potentially being employed – it's about giving everyone an equal opportunity to put their best foot forward.
If you have a person in your team with a disability, take the time to understand them and their disability. It's not just about setting someone up for success in the beginning, it’s about those adjustments you need to make on a daily basis so that those people with a disability don't feel excluded and can thrive and succeed in their role.
My overarching advice would be to enjoy the process, learn what you can and apply it to your role in any way you can. If people do that individually, we can create an inclusive workplace culture.
31 Mar 2023
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