Quite a few people have contacted Media Access Australia over recent times, asking if there was a supporting document that would aid them in providing a business case for their employer to fund studying the PCWA course – which is running again September-October 2017. The short answer is ‘YES’.
So what is the business case? Read this piece which features structured content with relevant links, that you can modify to suit and then cut & paste into an email or presentation document. It outlines the benefits and upskills from taking the PCWA course, not just for you, but the organisation for whom you work.
The business case for enrolling in the Professional Certificate in Web Accessibility (PCWA) course
Dear [insert your manager’s name]
I would like to submit the following business case to support my application to enrol in the PCWA, the Professional Certificate in Web Accessibility course which is studied part-time over six weeks online, run by Media Access Australia in conjunction with the University of South Australia.
Media Access Australia is Australia’s only independent not-for-profit organisation devoted to increasing web and digital access to media for people with disability and has over 20 years achievement in this area.
Accessibility is a critical element of any digital communication as it ensures that everyone can access the information we provide on our website and via other digital channels. This includes the ability to read and understand all content presented on-screen, find the appropriate elements to access details, make enquiries, place orders, watch promotional videos and make payments [edit as appropriate to your business].
Our organisation cannot afford to ignore or exclude our existing and potential customers as inaccessible websites force many to ‘Click away’. And with 20% of Australians living with disability, along with 5% more having low literacy and/or English as a second language, that works out to be 25% of the population, or one in four Australians.
Accessibility is the key for broader social media engagement and there’s never been a more pressing time to get accessible. Having an inaccessible website is a litigation risk, a recent court case also recognises that the online world is now part of our physical world, increasing the risk of legal action abroad and here (take the November 2014 case against supermarket Coles for example) or a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission. Therefore I believe it is in our best interest not to discriminate against our customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders.
While there are a few different courses available to learn accessibility techniques, the PCWA is the only course affiliated with, and accredited by, a University and offers significant benefits in comparison to other courses currently available. The PCWA highlights video offers a quick way to discover the scope of learning, as does the PCWA course learning page. And here is what it delivers:
- A university qualification with formalised assessments and professional recognition.
- Highly qualified lecturers (Doctorates) who work in the field of digital accessibility internationally, one of whom is a representative of the international standards body – the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
- In-depth coverage of topic areas and the latest advanced/current curriculum content.
- Opportunities for hands-on experience through graded assessments including using screen readers and other accessibility technology, captioning videos, techniques for building accessible websites, how to undertake a professional audit on accessibility across web and digital channels and applying this to my work.
- Practical and immediately usable techniques and a sound understanding of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) on websites as well as authoring tools, documents, auditing techniques, and software such as apps, aligned with what ICT professionals need to know to create accessible digital content.
- Access to a strong ongoing network of global accessibility experts who actively communicate and share information, resources and ideas after the course ends.
The logistics of the PCWA course:
- Run over six weeks studied online part-time, at times that work in with my work schedule and with a load of 10-12 hours a week.
- Self-paced learning so it will not interfere with my day-to-day work commitments.
- Three major assessments including a group assignment which can be completed with students from around the world, further enhancing networking opportunities.
- The cost of the course is $2,400 AUD (excl. GST) until the end of 2017, after which the cost to study this course is likely to rise 10%.
- The next PCWA course runs from Monday 18 September to Friday 27 October 2017 with registrations starting 31 July and closing 12 September 2017 – and this intake is the final one for the year.
The Professional Certificate in Web Accessibility is a lot more comprehensive than any one-day workshop can be – the PCWA not only demonstrates accessibility issues but will teach me how to fix them and integrate accessibility into all facets of our digital communications.
The skills I will gain in this course will help me to champion and implement accessibility in our organisation, increase the number of people who can access our website and digital content, while protecting us from any potential action caused by having an inaccessible website.
I believe it is an investment that will start paying dividends for our organisation very soon after course completion.
[Sign off as appropriate]