Our commitment to diversity is based on three core elements - a clear business case, a commitment to a values-driven culture and commitment to cultural relations. We aim to build an inclusive environment for customers and staff members. Disability is one of the British Council's key areas of focus in our diversity strategy, along with gender, ethnicity, age, religion, sexual orientation and work-life balance.
We provide disability-awareness training to staff so they know how to interact with disabled members of the public or colleagues.
This can be a considerable challenge because the range of disabilities is very broad, but some basic understanding is useful. We have also conducted an audit to see how accessible our building was for people with a range of disabilities, including wheelchair users and people with visual impairment, and based on those findings have made improvements.
We were not able to implement all the audit findings immediately, but have made the changes as building repair and maintenance schedules permitted.
We are prepared to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate the special needs of disabled staff. This requires discussion with the member of staff or if he or she is an intern, with their sponsor, to understand their particular abilities and special needs.
We work with the Nesbitt Centre and Hong Kong Rehabilitation Power to provide internships for students with disabilities who might otherwise be at home and not able to usefully contribute their skills to any organisation. It requires a careful dialogue to identify suitable roles for these interns, some of whom have experienced discrimination for much of their life. The interns have been welcomed by our staff into their teams and this is essential to making the internships a success.
Feedback and results
Training is provided for staff or interns with disabilities. This starts with induction training on joining and their work is monitored like any other member of staff. After discussion with the person and depending on the nature of the disability, the person's colleagues may also have a briefing on the person's disability.
We recognise that we don't always get it right and there's always more that can be done to improve accessibility, but having specific policies and a clear commitment to action are important steps in ensuring the participation of people with disabilities in the workplace.
We welcome staff with disability to work with us as we want to source the best talent for our organisation and we welcome customers with disabilities.