Categories and Measures - Achievement
Under ADAPT funding and complementing UfI activities, the measures that we included in this project were:
1. Support for development and supply of training; co-operation between organisations (1b)
Consultation with SMEs, SME employers, goods and service providers, and future purchasers of online training packages.
Training of trainers and other agents of change to encourage learning or anticipate need.
Encouraged co-operation among stakeholders.
Explored the availability of existing provision, including that of other Member States, that was relevant to the target group.
Carried out activities supporting the development of mechanisms to demonstrate and assure the quality of new products and services.
2. Guidance and counselling (1c)
Provided guidance and counselling to target groups on appropriate training provision and on setting up in self-employment.
Use of new technologies to improve access and co-operation between agencies and employers, and improve the ability of workers to participate in the redesign of work and organisational structures associated with the information society.
Provided people with information, advice and guidance about their duties and obligations under the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act.
Examined innovative ways of accessing the target groups, and of developing guidance and counselling services which met their particular needs.
Linking with the UfI functions, most notably driving demand for training, ensuring availability of high quality learning programmes, commissioning new content where demand and supply gaps cannot otherwise be bridged, and ensuring quality.
3. Exchange between companies and research: technology transfer, training (3a)
The project piloted an innovatory method to enhance infrastructure, i.e. the management of new technologies or methods of production in the workplace, and the use of new media as a means of promulgating new technologies, production methods, or information and training delivery. This was directly related to the UfI driving demand for learning.
4. Research related to industrial change: management, new production, training results, use of ICT (4c)
Supported the UfI function relating to the analysis of potential market needs and customers through the use of forward looking intelligence for its full range of targeted individual and employer related beneficiaries.
Sought to drive demand for learning by researching learning training demand and how it could be stimulated amongst target groups.
5. Raising awareness: seminars, good practice dissemination, information service, support structure (4d)
Feedback from participants of the project indicates that this pilot project has been instrumental in ensuring that the emerging innovative good practice from existing ADAPT and ADAPT (UfI) projects is captured for the ongoing development of the UfI.
Actions were taken to raise awareness of the different economic sectors in the training and employment services, research institutes, chambers of commerce, employers and workers organisations, and public authorities, in particular through specific exchange seminars, support for information services and through participation on networks for the dissemination of information.
Initially, a website holding page was created with information about the research project, inviting information exchange from future service users. This information was then incorporated into the eventual site design.
The Internet development team, Slightly Different Ltd. received an intensive course in Disability Awareness to enable them to have a clear view of the social, political and economic barriers of the client group who were the evaluators. This, together with ongoing consultation, enabled them to carry out the project effectively, and ensured appropriate levels of communication and understanding were maintained between them and the evaluators.
While the main site was being developed, a database and user tracking system was created to extensively monitor site traffic in areas such as pages visited, length of time on pages, navigation techniques throughout the site, and was also used to record all user feedback. This was then used to identify areas of the website and/or content that presented a difficulty to online service users, or areas that could be improved to ensure easier access. It was, however, only possible to make changes within the scope of existing technology and budgetary constraints.
Evaluators formed a steering group and worked to a plan of action in keeping with the life of the project, identifying and assessing positive and negative areas, and recommendations were made by them to Slightly Different Ltd. who made changes on the living site. Particular needs of people with specific disabilities were identified through interviews with the evaluators. In some cases where evaluators/presenters had severe learning difficulties, additional external training was necessary to assist them. Due to the personal nature of Disability Awareness Training and the effect that certain issues present to people undergoing the training for trainers, it was necessary to provide one to one counselling for those who required it. The evaluators who participated on the research project were people with such conditions as:
· brain damage
· cerebral palsy
· learning difficulties
· blind and visual impairment
· people whose first language is not English (e.g. deaf)
· spondylosis of the spine
· varied psychiatric conditions
· recovering drug and alcohol abusers
· stroke sufferers
· multiple sclerosis
· muscular entropy
· emotional disabilities
· behaviour disorders
Throughout the project, the website remained fully accessible and this was verified by a number of online accessibility organisations, who themselves expressed interest in the project, including:
· the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) managed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), who have been recognised by the US Government as the global authority on Internet accessibility, and
· the Centre for Applied Special Technology (CAST), a US based company, who manage the widely recognised Bobby accessibility verification system.
Website log reports were generated on a weekly basis by the website development team extensively detailing how many times the site had been visited, which search engines had listed the site, which other websites had links leading to the Self Direction site, and what technology was being used to access the site.
Meetings took place with the web development team, Project Managers, evaluators, and the Self Direction user steering group to review the research, feedback, and log reports to ensure that the project remained on target in achieving the required outcomes. At each weekly meeting, tasks based on the meeting outcomes were allocated to attendees to be actioned during the following week where possible.
Local external organisations were also consulted, several receiving presentations about the project and inviting their participation. These organisations included:
· The Employment Service
· Cornwall Alcohol and Drug Abuse Agency
· Penzance Women's Aid
· The Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support Council
· Penryn Chamber of Commerce
· Penryn Vision Development Group
· Carrick Healthy Living Centre Forum
· Cornwall Disability Forum
· Carrick Primary Health Care Trust
· Carrick Mental Health Team
· Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum
· Health Action Zone