Light blue webpage banner. White text states: Audio Ability Training Project Post-pilot Evaluation Report 2023-24. Underneath is the Audio Ability logo and CMTO logo. on the right is a white bubble with blue text that reads "What I really loved was just being there with everybody else really just knowing that I didn't have to make excuses for my disability. So I really found the whole structure really supportive, really inclusive."

The Audio Ability: Accessible Training and Mentoring Program has been an important source of empowerment and inclusivity in the community broadcasting sector since its establishment in 2021. By providing people with disabilities with essential radio broadcasting skills and personalised mentorship, the program is shaping broadcasters and transforming lives. As the program enters its third iteration, the impact and success of Audio Ability continues to grow, fostering a community where every voice is heard and valued.

The second round of the program involved 26 participants embarking on a 16 week course. Audio Ability helped participants build a range of skills, from basic broadcasting techniques to program preparation. The participants were then able to practice their skills in real radio stations across the country, aligning with the program’s commitment to hands-on experience. This training, along with guidance of experienced mentors, developed technical proficiency as well as confidence building and self-realization for the participants.

“And I loved that you had a variety of ways of learning so you had your practical you had your online modules that you could just go through by yourself but then coming together as the group I'm getting a good summary. It was yeah, I really enjoyed all of those bits” - Natasha, participant

“I managed to finish something, the piece of writing for the audio, which turned out to be for the audio feature, and I had started at six years ago…this course has opened my mind a lot in terms of how I can get across what I want to say” - Claire, participant

The Audio Ability program also fosters a sense of belonging among the participants. The program serves as a platform for social connection, breaking down barriers of isolation and creating meaningful relationships. Participants from the second round relished the opportunity to interact with peers and mentors, and were empowered by the community created by Audio Ability. 

“What I really loved was just being there with everybody else really just knowing that I didn't have to make excuses for my disability. So I really found the whole structure. really supportive, really inclusive. And yeah, it kind of took away that whole anxiety because you know, every time I sort of think about learning something, it's like, oh, first of all, I've got to get over all of that before I can actually start learning what I'm here to learn. So I loved that about it.” - Natasha, participant

Central to the success of the Audio Ability program is the role of mentors. The relationships forged between mentors and mentees were characterised by camaraderie and mutual growth, creating a safe space for learning and self-expression. The positive feedback underscored the profound impact of mentorship on the participants’ journey of skill learning and self development.

“Knowing how inaccessible it can be to get involved… making [community radio] more accessible and then being able to work with my mentee to make what they want to do, achievable and accessible to them, I think has just been really amazing” (Danni, mentor).

Many participants’ experiences underscore the profound impact of collaborative storytelling, highlighting the empowerment that comes from shared voices and shared experiences.

We would like to extend our thanks to the participating radio stations and dedicated volunteers that support the Audio Ability students in their broadcasting journey by providing them with a safe space and invaluable knowledge.

Audio Ability continues to empower and inspire, with 13 students and 8 mentors currently taking part in the third iteration of the program.

For detailed outcomes of this unique community engagement and training project, we invite you to read the Audio Ability Training Project Post-pilot Evaluation Report authored by project lead researcher; Dr Kim Stewart.

Click here to read the report

If you would like to learn more about the project and get involved, please contact the Project Manager, Ugur Topal and Course Coordinator, Gemma Purves at [email protected]

The program is funded by the Department of Social Services through their Information Linkage and Capacity Building Program. The Economic and Community Participation stream is funded until July 2024.

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