Interview with Rina Wharton - Accessibility and Usability Consultant at AbilityNet

Updated September 2022

What is your name and job title?

Rina Wharton, Senior Accessibility and Usability Consultant Team Lead.

Image of Rina Wharton, AbilityNet accessibility consultant

Can you tell us about your career in accessibility to-date?

I applied for a Junior Accessibility and Usability Consultant role at AbilityNet in 2019. At the time I was in the second year of a degree in Computing and IT at the Open University. I have continued my studies whilst being employed at AbilityNet and look forward to my graduation in Autumn 2023.

Everyone in the team helps to support the development of others. The path for development is set out from the day you join and you have clear goals to work towards. This has been really helpful to me as I know where I need to focus my efforts, and what is required to develop in my role.

To-date during my time at AbilityNet I have learnt a huge amount, having started with minimal, self-taught knowledge and little-to-no experience. After about 18 months I progressed from a Junior Consultant to a Mid-level Consultant. 12 months on I was promoted to a Team Lead, and I now manage a small team.

Looking back to when I first applied in 2019, initially I enquired thinking I might get some interview practice - I never expected to be offered a role! I'm proud to reflect on my achievements and development to-date and the opportunities I continue to be presented to further this.

What are your key responsibilities and activities as part of your current role?

My main responsibilities day to day are supporting both my team and the wider team through checking people’s work in quality assurance and peer review and answering questions posted by others. I also deliver training and guidance, both internally and externally, and undertake testing for clients.

What is AbilityNet to you?

AbilityNet is an amazing place to work, everyone is incredibly friendly and willing to support you when you need help. This is my first full time job, which, because of my autism, I was unsure I could do. AbilityNet has given me the flexibility I need to be able to be in the 16% of adults with autism in full time employment. AbilityNet has given me the opportunity to live an independent life, working the way I need to and on something I love doing. 

What made you want to work at AbilityNet? What are the perks in your opinion?

Because AbilityNet works with disabled people, I felt that they would understand the challenges that someone with a disability would face in the workplace. The team is very understanding, supportive and friendly and there are many people you can ask if you need any help. I have been given the flexibility I need to work in a way that works for me, so that I can achieve my best. 

How are you able to incorporate your professional training and background into your role as a consultant?

As this is my first full-time job, I had little professional training and background. Most of my knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and the WCAG criteria was self-taught. This knowledge has been incredibly useful in helping me to understand what I am looking at during audits, rechecks, QA and while delivering training.

What’s the best thing about working at AbilityNet?

The best thing about working at AbilityNet is the friendly, approachable and immensely helpful team of consultants that I am part of. I genuinely feel like I am part of a family. 

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