Meet Sarah! As part of Let’s Talk Disability, Sarah and the team run disability awareness workshops for local councils, government departments, corporate clients, tourism and hospitality providers and many more!
Presenting is my passion – I’ve been vision impared since birth, and when I present the training workshops, it’s great to be able to hear about the impact and the flow-on effect for attendees- especially people with disability.
I’ve been with National Disability Services (NDS) for about 6 years. I’ve got a background in community education, working across education and disability awareness training for about thirteen years. Previously I worked for Guide Dogs Australia ACT and NSW – in a similar role, but with more of a vision impairment focus.
What is Let’s Talk Disability?
Let’s Talk Disability provides interactive workshops for any workplace that is interested in improving engagement and disability inclusion – from customer service to recruitment and onboarding. We seek to challenge people’s perceptions of what people with disability are all about.
The workshops provide an open, honest and fun space where people can connect with presenters who have a disability – and attendees can ask the questions they’ve always wanted to ask. We often get feedback that the workshops help people improve their awareness and overall engagement of people with disability.
What’s the point of difference in comparison to other disability training workshops?
The difference with our workshops is that they’re delivered by people with disability.
Our presenters have a range of disability, and each share different personal experiences and perspectives. We’re very honest so that people can understand that we’re not all the same!
Our workshop structure isn’t a list of Do’s and Don’ts’ – we’re not about that. It’s about changing the way people think and act around people with disability. We focus on inclusion, advocacy and language – the stuff people really want to know. Through the delivery of our workshops and the learnings we present – we look to normalise disability and diversity.
What sort of feedback have you received from attendees?
The feedback has been great – people love it! I’ve found that the feedback is overwhelmingly positive – and people really enjoy the workshops. They’ve said they love that we create a safe space for them to ask us questions, and that all the presenters are very professional and funny. We are all actually quite humorous – if I don’t say so myself!
We ensure the workshops are fun – and that tends to come back to us in the feedback we receive. People genuinely seem to enjoy it, and we receive quite a lot of referrals via word of mouth from people that have heard about us from previous attendees that have enjoyed the workshop.
What can people expect to learn?
With our workshops, it’s not about sitting there for hours and being lectured. It’s interactive – we get people talking and doing different activities.
It’s a well designed and targeted program, inclusion and accessibility are two overarching principles. We work with companies to help them improve their strategies and overall accessibility.
Accessibility really should be universal in this day and age, so we start from there and build it up! We can also tailor our workshops to suit the requirements of the businesses we’re working with. We’ve assisted a lot of organisations with their Disability Inclusion Action Plans – they will come to us with 5 year plans, but aren’t sure where to start.
Recruitment has also been a big focus of some of the workshops we’ve delivered – we often get a lot of questions around how to make workplaces more accessible and inclusive, and ensure that people with disability are visible and included in workplaces.
What do you love about your job?
I really love seeing the genuine change in people’s attitudes and their boost in confidence. When we do our feedback forms – and people often put down that they leave the workshop feeling more confident – that’s incredibly exciting to us. We’re all about normalising disability and getting people comfortable. To see that happen over a very short period – that’s really exciting and something that I love is a direct result of the workshop.
How has COVID-19 changed the way you deliver the workshops?
Pre COVID we were travelling all around Australia and delivering face-to-face workshops to a real range of clients. Now, we’ve built our workshops so they can be delivered live, online.. We still deliver the best bits and key messages, and we keep it as interactive as we can – so people don’t think ‘oh no, not another Zoom meeting!’ As a presenting team, we’re really tight – we’ve upskilled around online delivery and we’re good at what we do. And we get the same feedback that we do with our face-to-face workshops.
Is there a size limit to the number of people you can deliver the workshops to?
To keep it personable and ensure good interactivity, we tend to keep the workshops to 20 attendees.
Do you offer tailored workshops?
Yes! If someone wants the workshop focused on one particular area – we’re happy to tailor content to a specific industry, workplace or different levels of staff including CEOs and leadership teams. We get really excited when we see organisations and companies put people from all levels though because it shows a genuine commitment to disability awareness and inclusion.
What would you say to someone that is considering disability awareness training?
Get in touch! Contact us to have a conversation about what we offer and how we can help your organisation. Our workshops not only help generate positive outcomes for people with disability but to everyone who completes the training.
I really love seeing the genuine change in people’s attitudes and their boost in confidence. We’re all about normalising disability and getting people comfortable.
1 in 5 Australians have a disability, so as a business, that means that one in five of your clients potentially have a disability. It makes good business sense to undertake awareness training – you may have a staff member that has a disability and you want to make sure they get the support they need; or you may want to improve your recruitment processes so that there is greater diversity and inclusion in your workplace. Overall, the workshops are excellent for personal and professional development.