Reflecting on our accessibility journey

By Rachel Collins, Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Colt

The third Thursday of each May is Global Accessibility Awareness Day. This time last year, Colt kickstarted its journey to get everyone talking, thinking, and learning about accessibility. We did it with the launch of our five-year Accessibility Roadmap: Optimising Accessibility.

Our journey started four years ago back in 2020 with the inception of Colt’s Disability Accessibility employee Network (DAN). This was followed by an internal consultation with our workforce on accessibility, an external expert review of our processes, further stakeholder engagement, culminating in the construction and launch of our Accessibility Roadmap in May 2023.

Colt really cares about its people, and I am proud to be part of our evolving practice of making information and activities as well as our physical environments sensible, meaningful and usable for as many people as possible. I am passionate about it because I feel accessibility truly is inclusion in action. If barriers to accessibility remain within Colt, we are not truly inclusive.

So, what has happened a year on since we launched our Accessibility Roadmap? The theme of Year 1 was ‘Foundations’. Building strong foundations required action across five key areas:

  • Strategy and governance
  • Employee experience
  • Awareness and skills
  • Brand and reputation
  • Customer experience

I am proud that the conversations within Colt around accessibility are definitely changing. Colties in meetings are now asking ‘what about accessibility?’ I hope our people continue to think both broadly and deeply about accessibility, including digital accessibility and visibility as well as physical accessibility. We have now delivered awareness training to over 500 Colties.

Colt’s Accessibility Guardians (formerly known as our Community of Practice) play a key role in pledging to champion for Colt employees with accessibility challenges. The numbers of our staff accessibility advocates continue to steadily rise. Our intranet, onboarding portal and reward platform are some example areas of how the roadmap continues to raise the consciousness of accessibility at Colt.

Collaborating with procurement and IT on centralising company purchasing for key equipment (e.g. screen readers for partially-sighted employees) has been a good example of how the employee experience can be exponentially improved. I have enjoyed talking about accessibility with large strategic suppliers, and have been inspired by the cross-pollination of their ideas.

‘A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step’, the Chinese proverb goes. I am proud of Colt’s progress, but there is still a long way to go. Looking forward to Year 2 with the theme of ‘Embedding, I am committed to making sure our work is sustainable, our progress remains systemic and that accessibility continues to be effectively built into our ways of working.

Click here to download our retrospective of the first year of our accessibility journey.


If you’d like to know more about accessibility at Colt, keep an eye out for our ESG report for 2023 which is coming out soon!


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