Tom Shaw's 2nd day with DAC


DAC this week welcomes our two new technical team support officers, Andrew Northmore-Thomas and Week on the Streets' external website campaigner for autism, Tom Nasmyth-Shaw.

Tom would like to share his first week on board the DAC team with you.

Day 2:

A full office today!

I think I managed to count 14 people in the office coming into work that all had their own role to play. People of all walks of life and all disabilities making their way to their workstations ready for the day ahead. I introduced myself to the team and settled down at my workstation to check some e-mails before awaiting guidance of what today would bring. Everyone was told they needed to ensure latest versions of all browsing platforms (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari for the iMac) were installed on their systems, as the client would like their webpage tested on the latest ones.

First, my job was to ensure that everyone had cleared their cache. Next, I was paired up with a young man whose job role at the DAC is a Cognitive Analyst. This sounded interesting. ‘X’ has a learning difficulty, but his knowledge of accessibility was of a high standard. I observed his testing methods and no problems were found with this particular analysts testing. Looking around the room I could see that everyone had their own testing methods using various software. Some testers are very experienced and some need more support to help them get through difficult areas.

I floated around the office for the rest of the time looking at the different testing methods being used and providing technical support when needed.

After lunch Deb, one of the Technical Auditor's here at the DAC, who’s showing me the ropes, asked if I would like to have a go at collating all the information gathered from the analysts, and compile this into a report ready for the Technical Auditors.

3:00pm approached and my working day had come to an end. I decided to stay on for a couple of hours as I had started a piece of work that I felt needed finishing whilst the information was still fresh in my memory.

Deb hasn’t overloaded me with information and I enjoy her way of explaining the job role. I’m told as working weeks go, this is a relatively quiet week, so I’m glad I have this opportunity to sit down and absorb as much information and practices as possible.

The environment this week has been perfect for learning. However, jobs are coming in all the time so I better learn quickly!

Enjoying so far. . . .

Tom – Technical Team Support Officer

Tom Shaw's 1st day with DAC


DAC this week welcomes our two new technical team support officers, Andrew Northmore-Thomas and Week on the Streets' external website campaigner for autism, Tom Nasmyth-Shaw.

Tom would like to share his first week on board the DAC team with you.

Day 1:

Finding a job that I enjoy, for me, has always been a problem throughout my working life. If I’m not chasing the annual wage, I’m chasing a comfort zone that offers very little mentally and financially.

So it was nice to start my first day at the Digital Accessibility Centre with a mixture of excitement and nervousness. I’d recently very kindly been offered an extended start date by the company’s directors, due to the delayed birth of my daughter Frankie. I already had an inkling of the type of people I was going to be working for, which eased the nerves a little.

I spent most of the morning chatting to colleagues and familiarising myself with the building and the IT equipment. The atmosphere was relaxed and I was made to feel welcome by everyone.

What I liked most about this morning, though, is that I wasn’t thrown into the deep end; been there, done that – worn the t-shirt, often. This may work for some, but not for me. I had the opportunity here to soak up the atmosphere and get to know my colleagues and this is what suits me best.

After an hour or so I was asked to sit in on a conference call with the team I’ll be working alongside. The call, from what I could gather, was between 3 people, one being the Team Manager, Geraint discussing a job that was due to start the next day. I listened in and it appeared that an organisation wanted a section of their webpage tested by the Analysts to ensure this particular section of their webpage was accessible for screen reader users.

The organisation were clear what they wanted, and the Manager, I thought, was exceptionally good at explaining how this was going to be delivered, offering alternative methods of testing, that would suit their needs and requirements. A mini tutorial of the webpage took place and a discussion was also had around whether or not testing should include a mobile platform, too; it was agreed both desktop and mobile ensuring accessibility on both.

I enjoyed listening to the call which gave me insight on how things would work tomorrow. Having previous experience in supporting people with learning disabilities and acquired brain injury, I am particularly excited to be working in a field I didn’t even know existed, until applying for the job.

I spent the rest of the day in some light training with a talented lady who is a Voice Activation and Keyboard Only Analyst. She uses Dragon Naturally Speaking to test websites due to her disability. She was extremely knowledgeable. In fact, I was quite impressed at her technical knowledge of her software. I learnt more from her in 30 minutes, than I did two weeks at home trying to retain some knowledge myself.

I know my way around a PC. Having said that, I know my way around my house. It means nothing unless you knuckle down and put the hard work in. I’m looking forward to this!

Tom – Technical Team Support Officer, Digital Accessibility Centre.