Direct Access is fast approaching the two-decade milestone since Steven Mifsud MBE founded our firm.

Looking back on our successes and failures, we are blown away that through it all, we have maintained a longevity of passion for our work across an entire generation. That we have been allowed to continue to bring accessible environments to disabled people, remains an unprecedented achievement that we never considered, but are immensely proud of.

Many businesses falter during their first couple years, yet Direct Access has continued to grow in a plethora of ways, reaped several industry rewards, and we have identified a number of factors as to why this is. For example, when we consider our society’s attitudes towards disability, the improvement in awareness and empathy certainly puts Direct Access in a better position to do what we love.

On the other hand, COVID-19 has shown all of us how it feels to be segregated regardless of our abilities, and faced strong limitations on our lives as a result. For a time, we lacked access to absolutely everything, from entertainment, to the ability to go to the shops, to see our friends and family.

However, if we were to point to just one element that has resulted in our continued growth, we would put the success down to one thing; our team, and the philosophy that our lived experiences as disabled people has informed the detail, effectiveness and quality of our access audits, consultancy services, and products. People make the world go around, and the same can be said for the world of Direct Access.

This was not always the case for us, however. In Direct Access’ early years, we boasted a considerably smaller team, and ironically, it was only during COVID where we could realistically expand the scale of our services to match our global ambition. The dream was to deliver accessibility to territories internationally, and to create a world where accessible environments are the norm and not a novelty, and through not one individual person on our team did we achieve this feat. It was only through continuous collaboration, with our internal team, and our partners, that Direct Access now possesses some of the most experienced and passionate team players within our industry, and we now deliver inclusive accessible environments in the physical and digital realms across Europe, the United States, Australia and the Middle East.

At Direct Access, we believe that people should be allowed to play to their strengths, and are valued for their intrinsic talent. As a team of disabled people, we have endured many experiences throughout our lives that have left us feeling at odds with ourselves, or “put in a box” because of our limitations in certain areas, whether that’s our ability to see, hear, walk, or comprehend information in the same was as others do. For this reason, we have always taken the approach of encouraging our team players to do what they are comfortable with, and pushed them to become masters at it.

It is this approach that has resulted in Direct Access having a team specifically for access consultancy, and another who will envision and deliver our products. In addition, we have a team for ensuring the sensory accessibility of environments’, and others that deal with marketing.

Although our roles are all informed by our individual experience as disabled people, we do not set limits because of them. By helping each other out, and learning from one another to gain new perspectives, we generate creative solutions. We believe firmly that it is this single idea, which has been at our core for eighteen years, that has allowed us to understand exactly what is required of us and deliver informed and inclusive accessibility audits that benefit everybody.

After all, accessibility is by it’s very nature broad – so one person’s experience will be unique from another person. Although we always try our best, our team remains vigilant that there is always another perspective to consider.

This is precisely why people, and collaborating with others, is Direct Access’ greatest asset.

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