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.