Creating Accessible Training – Why It Is Important to Ensure Your Training Is Accessible To All

A close up photograph of Sophie Cooke. Sophie has bright orange/pink hair that is chin length. Sophie is wearing dark rimmed glasses. Her top is dark orange.

With the release of our free guide to Creating Accessible Training, we spoke to our facilitator Sophie Cooke on the importance of ensuring that your training is accessible to all.

Sophie is the key contributor to the guide, and has used both her personal experiences and extensive research.

Read on to find out more about why creating accessible training is important.

Being disabled in a world that doesn’t fully value people like me has been one of the biggest challenges of my life; and understanding the nuances of how the world treats – and discriminates against – people like me has been incredibly difficult.

For me, the fight worth fighting doesn’t involve trying to ‘fix’ my body and mind (it turns out my value as a human being isn’t tied to whether or not I’m ‘healthy’!) – but, instead, it involves challenging the way disabled people are treated and trying to change society’s perception of disability.

So, when Tammy gave me the opportunity to create a resource for trainers and facilitators to create more accessible training, I jumped at the chance. Because this is the stuff that changes the world, one step at a time.

Accessing education and training has been, and continues to be, difficult for me and for my disabled friends. We’ve experienced asking for slides or handouts ahead of time only to be told, ‘we don’t do that’; we’ve turned up to a ‘fully accessible’ venue to find that the accessible toilet is being used as a storage room; and we’ve notified training providers of our limited mobility only to be asked to do an activity that involves lots of movement around the room.

Lack of access is a choice, and it is discrimination.

As a wider community, we’ve asked for hybrid and online options for learning, only to be told it was impossible – that was, until a global pandemic meant that non-disabled people needed these options, and suddenly and miraculously they became possible!

At every turn our needs are categorised as ‘special’ or ‘additional’ rather than recognising that everyone has needs, and that supporting us means building a more supportive environment for everyone. We are viewed as a nuisance rather than as people.

We deserve access to training and education on the same basis as our non-disabled peers, and the reality is that we are being actively and passively denied this. When a provider makes the choice not to actively improve access, they are choosing to shut out disabled people. That’s not just morally wrong, it’s often against the law.

As a Taye facilitator, I’ve had the absolute joy of having my needs treated seriously by an organisation that is committed to inclusion, growth, and learning. In 25+ years of work, I’ve never encountered an organisation so willing to genuinely listen and to act in support of disabled people. In finding ways to support our delegates in the same way, and helping you to do the same, I believe we are doing something truly world changing. Thank you for coming along on the journey.

A stack of A4 booklets. The top booklet shows the cover - half dark purple, with orange and purple curved lines. The top purple half features the Taye Training logo in orange and white. The bottom half of the cover is white, orange text reads 'Creating Accessible Training'. Below this, black text reads 'A practical guide to creating training sessions that are accessible to all your delegates.'

Our free guide to Creating Accessible Training is available now – you can access this by joining our community here: the Training 4 Influence community.

In this free group, you will find any future updates to the pack, as well as free resources and guides on how to create accessible training.

This easy to use, practical guide will always be available completely free for all. It will ensure your training sessions are accessible to all, from course creation, to handouts and presentations, to ensuring venues and technology are suitable. It covers both live online and face-to-face training.

Want to know more about Equality, Diversity and Inclusion? Take a look at our course Equality and Diversity.  All of our training is delivered by an expert facilitator, tailored to meet the needs of your organisation, engaging for the delegates, and always values-led.