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Pathways Academy training reaps dividends for inaugural student

Disabled students on the Centre for Accessible Environment’s (CAE) first Pathways Academy inclusive design programme are celebrating the end of training today, with one student already securing employment.

The 12 month Pathways Academy programme was created by Habinteg's inclusive design and access experts, CAE, to support young disabled people to kick start a career in inclusive design and access.

Employment success

Aisling Gallagher works at Theatre Royal Stratford East as an Agent for Change, focussed on making the environment more welcoming for disabled people.

“If it wasn’t for Pathways, I would’ve probably never have had this role,” said Aisling. “Even though access consultancy has been something I’ve been interested in for a long time, it wasn’t until I joined Pathways Academy that I believed a career in inclusive design was right for me.”

Aisling and the rest of the class of 2021 were the first intake onto the programme.

Pathways Academy is part of City Bridge Trust’s Bridge to Work initiative. It aims to tackle the disproportionately high level of young unemployed disabled Londoners.

“The virtual training format was an absolute life-saver as it meant I could attend every session, whether I was feeling well or not,” said Aisling. “And while it’s been everything from intense to educational, I can also say it’s been inspirational.”

The programme

CAE’s Head of Business Development, Fara Muneer, said: “We know that disabled people face a number of complex barriers to employment. Pathways Academy seeks to help students overcome those barriers by giving them the technical knowledge and other skills needed to develop a career in inclusive design.

“Students develop essential communications skills to help them put their new knowledge to the test, which includes presentation and report writing skills. And, as we can see with Aisling, the programme is doing exactly what we established it to do.”

Applications are open for this year’s programme, which starts in October 2021, covering various topics each month including:

  • access auditing
  • access design appraisals
  • principles of inclusive design
  • website accessibility
  • designing for neurodiversity.

Apply for a taste

Prospective students can find out more about Pathways, meet the project team, and hear from people already working in the inclusion and access field, by signing up for a two hour virtual taster session.

The sessions are on Tuesday 29 June and Tuesday 27 July 2021. Email pathways@cae.org.uk to book one.

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