Disability and Inclusiveness at AUK

People in a meeting

Saturday 3rd December celebrates the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), and in recognition of this important day, we thought we’d take a look at what we have, are, and can be doing as an agency to create a fair and accessible workplace environment for everyone.

Following on from our B Corp Certification earlier this year, our vision going forward is to continue creating a positive impact and build on it as an ethically driven, inclusive marketing agency, balancing profit with purpose and making conscious improvements for people and our planet.

This is reflected in our champions within the agency leading disability, diversity, sustainability, mental health and wellbeing, and women’s health, who are responsible for driving processes, making improvements, supporting colleagues, and promoting these core values within our business.

Unfortunately, while our audiences are broad and diverse, the marketing industry is still sorely lacking the diversity and accessibility to reflect them, so we knew we needed to take action to change this status quo and actively seek opportunities.

Step in Leonard Cheshire, whose mission is to build a fairer and more inclusive society by providing support to people with disabilities so they can live, learn and work independently.

We were lucky enough to have Leonard Cheshire run a series of workshops for us, covering Inclusive Communications, Workplace Adjustments and Disability Means Business. These workshops covered a number of topics, including what can be considered a disability, identifying how to work more inclusively, and how businesses can take a more strategic approach to disability.

We spent time learning about the social model of disability – that people are disabled by physical and communicative barriers in society, rather than their own impairment of difference – and how removing these barriers can create equality and offer independence, choice and control.

This has resulted in a real change in our mindset towards social inclusion. We found that perceived barriers were removed and that only small adjustments to the working environment can go a long way in becoming more inclusive. 

We are also excited to be working with Three Ways Special School in the new year, where we will be helping to give students with learning difficulties and disabilities a wider knowledge base about the types of jobs people do, what marketing is and how advertising, PR and promotion works.

Lucy from Three Ways said:

“We are so excited to be co-creating a workshop to draw on students’ creativity and the expertise of AgencyUK staff to give a hands-on experience of work in this area. It is such an amazing opportunity to see how a company works to instil the values of a B Corp and see other opportunities tied to this in meeting the beekeeper and creating bug hotels.”

Through these initiatives, we not only feel we have become a more committed and confident employer for those with disabilities, but the knowledge we’ve gained is something we can now share with our clients to improve the inclusiveness of the marketing sector as a whole.

For more information on the wonderful work done by Leonard Cheshire and Three Ways Special School, follow the links below.

Leonard Cheshire – https://www.leonardcheshire.org/

Three Ways Special School – https://threeways.co.uk/