Employment in the 21st Century

Our attitudes and the way we think about people with access needs can directly influence our employment practices.

We've come a long way in how we think about accessibility and accessible employment. Through the Be. movement we strive to view the world through the Be. Accessibility Lens, but historically society hasn't always been so inclusive.

The following is a brief history of how disability has been viewed in New Zealand since the 1800s. The different lenses give context to how, in part, we've arrived at this opportunity. Though the lenses are represented in a time line, the attitudes and behaviours from these past lenses can and do resurface in today's world just as easily as the past.

In 2012 we created Be.'s Accessibility Lens, to describe what we're striving for – a world designed with everyone's access needs in mind.

The Be. Lens

Our philosophy begins with the Be. Lens - a new way of looking at the world.

The Be. Lens is one of Accessibility. It changes the emphasis from barriers and exclusion to a sense of engagement and generosity from every member of society. By working together in a creative and imaginative way, all in society can celebrate the opportunity accessibility offers.

This lens allows us to see the magic in possibility while also keeping us grounded and genuine. It allows people to find new common ground with each other and it encourages a community where we all take responsibility for creating the best and most accessible world imaginable, individually and collectively.

The language that reflects this new lens is about "accessibility" rather than "disability", about possibility rather than limitation, about innovation rather than the status quo. We talk about access citizens, access customers, the access economy, and people with access needs!

The Three Pillars

The work of the Be. Accessible is based on three inter-connected pillars of accessibility originally presented by Be. Institute trustee, Mark Bagshaw. They are:

  1. Physical Pillar: By creating an accessible physical and information environment we will enable each other to get in, enjoy and share in all our country has to offer.
  2. Social Pillar: By inspiring us all to think differently about access we will raise the hopes and dreams of all people.
  3. Personal Pillar: By developing disabled leaders we will create role models who will lead the way for others to follow.

To continue reading about different lenses click here.

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