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A new advanced draft of the EC-mandated (M376) European Standard EN 301 549 has just been published for commenting. See in particular chapter 9 for the web and chapters 10 and 11 for applying W3C WCAG2.0 also to electronic documents and software applications interfaces, and the related annexes C9 to C11 for verifying conformance. Comments are due by 15th September 2012.
See also:
- The first draft of the W3C Note on Applying WCAG 2.0 to Non-Web Information and Communications Technologies, e.g. to electronic documents or software applications, has just been published for commenting: http://www.w3.org/TR/wcag2ict/.
- The draft of the W3C Note on Website Accessibility Conformance Evaluation Methodology (WCAG-EM) 1.0: http://www.w3.org/WAI/ACT/ (a more advanced draft is expected shortly for further commenting).

The focus of web accessibility is often on web development – the things that happen in HTML, CSS, or JavaScript after a site has been designed visually. Optimal accessibility should start much earlier, as part of the visual design process. WebAIM created an infographic that highlights a few important principles of accessible design.

Web Accessibility for Designers infographic with link to text version at WebAIM.org

View an accessible version of the infographic above, courtesy of Chris Throup.

TRAVORS2 and EPC LLL projects invite you on 7 September 2012 to the launch of the European Disability Employment Practitioner Certificate, which will take place in ANkara (Turkey). The qualification is open to practicing professionals with or without training.

The European Disability Employment Practitioner Certificate (in the UK the BTEC Professional Certificate – European Disability Employment Practitioner) or EPC, is for people who support individuals with disabilities to gain or stay in work. It is validated in the UK by Edexcel at level 4 (EQF level 5), the same level as an HNC. The qualification is provided by two specialist disabilityemployment companies, VRC and RNL, supported by a specialist education centre, TADCO, and an education and qualifications developer, SLD.
Employment Advisors and Managers who are already capable may take the qualification without prior training. For those who want to upgrade their skill and improve their results, there are several options for training tailored to their situation.
Teaching modes can include face to face teaching, online teaching, and distance mentoring all supported by in-work practice.

How to get the Qualification
Choosing Units: The EPC has six Units; a qualification consists of Unit 1 plus at least one other. Candidates choose Units according to their skills and the work they do.

The Units are:
1. Professional skills and ethics: compulsory common elements including essential
communication, counselling skills; basic law and ethics.
2. Engaging with client communities: outreach and community-based working; working
with organisations and specialist services
3. Enabling clients to obtain work: helping clients assess, set goals, plan and progress to
work, including job search, job preparation and return to work
4. Supporting clients in work: graduated return to work and helping clients and employers
to implement work adjustments
5. Supporting employers to employ disabled people: developing employment
opportunities and projects, and supporting employers to recruit disabled people
6. Case management: working with other professionals, receiving eligible clients, keeping
records and reviewing cases to improve future practice.

Assessment
Candidates for the EPC are assessed on their ability to apply skills and knowledge in a work situation. The main ways of doing this are to:
- Be observed by the assessor. Ideally this will be done by the assessor sitting in, but it can also be done by video link or recording
- Reports, recommendations, assessments etc. that you have produced.
- Written case-studies. They allow you to explain your decisions and reflect on how you have gone about your work
- Get another competent person – such as your manager, an employer, or in some instances an individual client – to write something describing your actions

The assessor will usually want to discuss the relevant work with you, to check your depth of understanding and your reasoning.

Getting the qualification
After registering your interest, we send you a Diagnostic Questionnaire to discuss with us and return with examples of your written work. This helps decide which Units you want to take, and whether you are ready for the assessment. At this point you would usually decide whether to go straight to the qualification or to do some training as well. When you Register for the Qualification, we send you a Students Manual, with everything you need to know, including assessment criteria, procedures and regulations. We advise you on what you will need to provide for the assessment. You then provide the assessment materials and we mark them against the criteria, providing feedback and opportunities for you to show your work in the best light. When you have completed, we will provide your Edexcel Certificate.
You will be enrolled with us for nine months which includes one opportunity for reassessment if you need it (your registration with Edexcel lasts for three years).

ICCHP 2012 (13th International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs) just launched its official ICCHP 2012 Tweetwall. To post, use #icchp2012.

ATLEC (Assistive Technology Learning Through a Unified Curriculum – www.atlec-project.eu) is currently conducting a European survey on the training and usage of assistive technologies (AT).

ATLEC focuses on training people with disabilities in being aware of and being able to use assistive technologies, whilst also creating the job profile of an ICT AT trainer, therefore giving people with disabilities another route into employment or self-employment.

Recent surveys with AT users and specialists throughout Europe have highlighted and confirmed that the lack of appropriate or sufficient training is the core barrier towards using AT by end-users. This lack of training is subsequently also recognised as the main barrier to securing or maintaining employment within a regular working environment.

A number of training initiatives exist but they mainly address training of the trainers and professionals working with people with disabilities, and not the actual beneficiaries (people with disabilities), who remain largely unaware of the huge range of available ICT-AT or of the potential it provides for them to build their skills, their employability or their independence.

To better grasp the problems with current training practices (or the lack of), we launched a survey that is targeted towards:

  • Parent / Carer / Personal Assistant of a person with a disability
  • Support Organisation representing people with disabilities
  • Educator (Teacher/Further Education or VET Trainer/Higher Education Tutor)
  • AT Provider (e.g. manufacturer, distributor, occupational therapist, etc)
  • Policy Maker (for education, disability, employment).

The survey focuses on the AT training that is available and aims to gather feedback on the quality of the training. The online survey can be found at:

If interested to participate, please complete the online survey.

Thank you in advance for your contribution.

ATLEC project team:
Oak Field School, Nottingham (UK)
PhoenixKM BVBA (Belgium)
Disability Now (Greece)
Associazione Italiana Assistenza Spastici (A.I.A.S) (Italy)
University Of Athens (Greece)
Greenhat Interactive Ltd (UK)

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The ATLEC (Assistive Technology Learning Through A Unified Curriculum – 518229-LLP-1-2011-1-UK-LEONARDO-LMP) project has been partially funded under the Lifelong Learning program. This message reflects the views only of the author(s), and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

The EDF report: A Compilation of Resources on the Web-Accessibility Internal Market gathers resources in relation to web-accessibility. This list of resources is by no means exhaustive but brings further insights:
- It present reports and studies illustrating the state of play of websites access in Europe and providing further insight on the socio-economic rationale behind making websites accessible;
- It gives the voice to persons with disabilities illustrating the everyday problems they encounter because of lack of access to websites;
- It also brings the perspective of some web developers providing services of web-accessibility;
- And some accessible owners explain why they think it is worth designing accessibly.

Download EDF Report: A Compilation of Resources on the Web-Accessibility Internal Market