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A Melbourne Water employee has been awarded the state 2020 Enablers Change Maker Award.

Erin Beel – an IT Lead User Experience Designer – was recognised for her outstanding efforts in promoting disability inclusion and inspiring others both at work and in the wider community.

The Enablers Network is an employee-led association for people with lived experience of disability and their allies in the Victorian public sector. 

The group hosts an annual event with department secretaries and employees – recognising excellence in creating and fostering disability-confident workplaces by agencies and individuals. 

“I’m a User Experience Designer and that means I design for humans, and humans are diverse,” Ms Beel said.

“When designing for people, we must always be mindful that the choices we make can disable others.

“We must ensure our work is accessible, and involve people from all walks of life, cultures and abilities in the design process, because digital accessibility is a fundamental human right.”

Among Ms Beel’s change-making disability work at Melbourne Water, she has assumed responsibility for all the accessibility goals for IT, including creating accessible content and design, and educating staff on developing for accessibility.

Melbourne Water General Manager People and Capability, Paula Jeffs, said diversity and inclusion are of high priority at the organisation and well supported by active employee interest groups like Kaleidoscope, which Ms Beel chairs.

“Erin’s long-term commitment to building our digital accessibility literacy, and the practical and tangible actions she’s led us to implement have made such an impact on so many people and really helped us deliver on our commitment to being an inclusive workplace,” Ms Jeffs said.

Ms Beel has also played an active role in the Victorian water sector’s disability network ‘WaterAble’ – supporting the delivery of Melbourne Water’s accessible website – including for those with an invisible disability such as dyslexia and representing Melbourne Water at the Australian Network on Disability’s Roundtables.

“I’m honoured to receive the Change Maker award for 2020 for my work in digital accessibility and I hope this recognition will help highlight the importance of digital accessibility in the Victorian Public Service and beyond,” Ms Beel said.

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