The All 4 Inclusion Pod

#24 Finding dream career whilst disabled. The Ability Group in Sport

October 12, 2022 Scott Whitney Season 2 Episode 8
The All 4 Inclusion Pod
#24 Finding dream career whilst disabled. The Ability Group in Sport
Show Notes Transcript

Nate Williams, co founder of The Ability Group in Sport talks to us about finding his dream job and then setting up a platform to enable others to do this too.

Whilst we talk about Nate's career, this is very transferable. Nate discussed a wider team learning from disabled colleagues - this could be done in a call centre, shop floor, education facilities etc.... Having and being proactive to an inclusion policy, allows businesses to grow faster.

Nate has travelled the world, gaining access to different sporting venues, meeting lots of different people. This allows him to call upon his lived experience - he knows what inclusive looks like, he knows what accessible looks like from the perspective of a wheelchair user. He knows what it looks like for people who suffer from other disabilities too, because he is proactive in finding out what inclusion looks like for different people.

Find TAGS on Linked in here  The Ability Group in Sport (TAGS): Overview | LinkedIn

Nate Williams profile  Nate Williams | LinkedIn

Home - All 4 Inclusion

Voiceover for intro and outro by Jennie Eriksen | LinkedIn

Music granted free of charge very kindly by Music: https://www.purple-planet.com . The track is called Hope and Inspire.

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Scott Whitney:

Welcome everybody to the next episode of the All4Inclusion Pod. So today joining me, I have Nate Williams. Nate is from an organization called TAGS. How are you doing, Nate?

Nate Williams:

I'm very well, Scott. Thanks for inviting me on and like I say, I've been very busy with The Ability Group in Sport this week in London and other places. Happy to be on the podcast and continue spreading the work we're doing.

Scott Whitney:

Tell people a little bit about you, first of all. We'll come on to TAGS in a second, but let's hear a little bit about about Nate.

Nate Williams:

So Nate is a massive sports fan. Always has been, always will be. And the thing I found frustrating about sport as a wheelchair user with Cerebral Palsy is that getting tickets was very hard to get to football games at the Premier League and to get to boxing fights. And I was a big wrestling fan back then, the WWE and I've never even still been to a WWE event even now. Then I just thought what if I had a job in this industry they can't turn me away, can they? And yeah, so I've studied hard. I had good English grades, good IT grades. I was very good at sport. And in fact, I was one of the first GCSE PE students with a disability in the country that my teacher fought for. And yeah just married it up and said sports journalism will be something great. And then went to University of Huddersfield, graduated with honours there, sports journalist, and did the Paralympics in London 2012, my first ever event at age 19. So that was a baptism under fire in itself. Lots of attention, lots of media coverage, lots of accessibility. I thought this is great. Media seems like a very accessible career for me, but when you get to the other sports in the regular fixtures particularly football at the lower league grounds where there's not as much money like with the Premier League accessibility can be a bit of an issue. So I've had a lot of obstacles in my career over 12 years, and now that I've grown to a level I'm 30 years old now and I'm seeing a lot more disabled people coming through and those barriers are still existing. Trying to through TAGS, teach the industry to improve on those barriers and ultimately remove them and, try and progress people into the industry. So I see myself I've been a reporter, I've been a producer, I've been a social media producer as well as working for big broadcasters. Now I see myself in another career change where I'm turning into a bit of a industry figurehead for disabled people. I'm starting to realise that role right now.

Scott Whitney:

Before we go into into TAGS, how was school and university for you?

Nate Williams:

School? Very difficult, but as school is difficult for everybody I don't think the subject of bullying limits itself to disability. It, it affects everyone at some stage regardless of what background you're from. So yeah, school was very difficult. Found it very hard to fit in. I wasn't the only disabled student there, but there was a bit of a segregation issue when I went because there seemed to be a policy where all the disabled students like hang out in what we called a learning support unit. And I didn't want to be like that. I wanted to be out, in a playground with male mates and yeah, that, that's what I did. And also what I didn't like about school is that you couldn't really be, being a disabled student, you had a, what they call a personal assistant but they were always over your shoulder in, in lessons. So when you wanted to. When you were bored of a lesson, for example, and you just wanted to have a chat with your mates, you'd always get tapped on the shoulder by that personal assistant saying you shouldn't be. So you never felt like you had any freedom. It was like having a prison guard on your shoulder. And I said, look, what do I need a personal assistant for? I can manage myself fine. I'm well read, written, like I don't struggle with anything. So I eventually got PAs removed from my lessons because I was a bit of a handful for them. Cause I was always arguing with them in the middle of the lesson. Yeah, school was tough, university was better, lot more integration did all the nightclub scene and everything like that. Few access issues depending on what club you went to. But Huddersfield is a small town anyway You've just gotta manage your expectations on that front. But in terms of the qualification itself I was very well supported and, when London 2012 came knocking on my door, I jumped at the chance. I've always wanted to be at a Paralympics. I actually wanted to be competing at a Paralympics as a wheelchair basketball player, where play wheelchair basketball from the age of 11. And unfortunately you've just gotta have the talent. Like I had the commitment. I was playing basketball every day and training every day, but sometimes you've just gotta have that natural talent to kick you on a bit. And that never realized itself for me, but I saw my career as another pathway into that event. And luckily it happened. So when my tutor emailed me and say, Oh meet Craig Spence, who I used to work with at the IFL the RFL the Rugby Football League. He's now the head of communications at the International Paralympic Committee. I think you should apply for the writer roles that they've got going. And I applied, I met Craig at a test event in London in May, 2012, the first time at the stadium when it was built. And I was just captivated by it and I said, Look, this is all I've wanted to do. I don't really care about anything else other than this event because it means so much to me. And I got to do two weeks at the Paralympic Games and just progressed from there. And then I'd say leaving university was harder than any of that educational stuff.

Scott Whitney:

I know you've covered so many different sports Which sports have been your favorite to cover? And why?

Nate Williams:

Obviously boxing, because it's a circus. It's always interesting. You only have to look at this week with, the mega fight of Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury not happening. It was never going to happen. There's too much red tape to go through for it to be signed and sealed for December 3rd, which is like eight weeks away. I never jumped on the bad wagon and say they're gonna fight, they're gonna fight. I'd say let's wait and see. Let's wait and see what happens. And then you also have the news today of, Connor Benn and Euank fighting, even though Connor Benns failed a drugs test. It's a mental sport to follow. But one thing I will say about boxing in terms of covering it and being provide it is like a family and you are welcome into the fraternity. There's a lot of YouTube channels now because, I was around when IFL TV and Coogan Cassius has first started that whole ethos of working. And in my opinion, Coogan's created a monster now because anybody with a camera just turns up to the press conference saying, I've got a YouTube channel. I'm doing this. And I just think it's one of the most accessible sports for entry level journalists to actually do because, and even from a wheelchair user's point of view I didn't have to worry about press boxes. I didn't have to worry about getting lifts or toilets because everything was on ground level, your ringside. And, I've been ringside for some amazing events and I think probably the best one was the two Wilder Fury fights. One was in LA, at the Staple Center was somewhere I've always wanted to go as a basketball fan of the Lakers. So I got to see a few Lakers games before covering that fight for work. And then I got to go to the MGM ground, which is like the mecca of boxing if you're a boxing fan and cover the rematch. Boxing is a wild sport to follow. It's always keeping you on your toes, but it's one of the most accessible and that's why it's my favorite.

Scott Whitney:

And then let's flip it. Which sport needs to do more?

Nate Williams:

Which sport needs to do more tennis personally? At Wimbledon in 2019 I had one of the most accessible experiences that any journalist could have asked for in terms of viewpoint. So I was court side for Roger Federer's last Grand Slam final before he retired this year against Novak Djokovic. And I got such a better angle from that and that's the positive of one experience. But generally I think tennis is a closed shop for a certain demographic of people. In, it's unlike boxing, there's no YouTube channels for tennis, there's podcasts, but these are run by presenters that are paid by Euro Sport and Prime video. They've already got careers, people setting up YouTube channels don't work in tennis because it's a close shop to them. And I do know a few colleagues that have set up their own blogs, but they've had to work really hard to get that accreditation to Wimbledon to get certified. Whereas, boxing, it's very much if you've got the drive, if you are a knowledgeable fan, Eddie Hearn's happy to talk to anybody that's got a camera, he'll, answer your questions. But I think tennis from a, just general accessibility point of view for people trying to get into the industry, but I think football also needs to up its game a bit when it comes to disability access because it's so imbalanced between the leagues. You've got the Premier League right at the top, but even, I, I go to a few Premier League grounds sometimes, and I've wondered how I, how I will get in the press box and Fair plays those clubs. One of them I actually went to in the pandemic. They put me in a hospitality box with a view of the pitch wifi coffees served to me and it was very accessible. But the problem with that is you're away from your colleagues. So if you are busy typing some copy from something you've seen, and then a goal happens or an instant and you have to look up because something's happened, you've got no one to confer with, which sometimes happens in the press box. So I think football and tennis that I've worked in have, gotta improve, but for different reasons.

Scott Whitney:

Tell us a little bit about TAGS.

Nate Williams:

So The Ability Group in Sport was an idea I've wanted for a very long time. In our industry, we have bodies that represent diverse groups. So you've got the Black Collective of Media and Sport BCOMS. You've got L G B T sports media for Sexuality, and you've got Women in Football who are on a massive wave at the minute of, partnerships and people knocking at their door because England won the women's Euros and they've had that a really positive year. But there's never been a group for disabled people working in the sports media, even though there have been even before me. I had a mentor at a broadcaster who worked in the industry for 20 years, but he was like behind the scenes and, you'd only have to meet him to realize how, respected he was, but because he's not on screen and he's behind the scenes, you don't know. That's a role that disabled people can do. So one of the emphasis behind Tags is just basically the first point is showing that, there are disabled people working in this industry, and we want to emphasize that by sharing content, by working with industry leaders. And our motto to speakers. We believe all disabled people deserve a piece of the action when working in sports. So anybody aspiring to work in sports media or currently working in sports media comes to us and the word piece stands for our five objectives. We want to PROMOTE people, disabled people in the industry doing good work and champion the companies that are supporting them to progress. Second point is we want to IMPROVE accessibility generally in football stadiums, in arenas, in offices, outside broadcast, and also the accessibility of the content that people produce. We want to also EDUCATE the industry on the importance of adjustments so that any role can be fulfilled. And one caveat under that point, and one goal of TAGS is to try and produce the first ever match report for a publication. Done purely by speech to text dictation. It's never been done before. So we're trying to work on how we train somebody up to do that. That he has a physical disadvantages that needs that software to show others that are like that person that they can do this role. It doesn't have to be a barrier straight away. And then the fourth point is we want to COLLABORATE with the industry. We want to work with the big broadcasters, the newspapers, everybody involved in the industry to create schemes and pathways for disabled people to come into the industry and develop. And finally, the, I think the most important piece with the recent article about Ellie Simmons on strictly from dancing is we want to ENCOURAGE CONVERSATION. And remove fear about disability and needs and adjustments and get people talking about disability. Because the more we talk, the more we learn and the more these controversial things of articles get published with inappropriate language and ableist language don't happen.

Scott Whitney:

For me, like speaking is such a big thing. And if someone doesn't have a disability, or even if they have a disability, we're both wheelchair users, but that doesn't mean just because I'm a wheelchair user, I know how every person's impacted. So the only way you're going find out is by speaking with someone and sometimes just saying to someone, Look, do you mind just checking over my copy for me? Oh, actually, That could be taken the wrong way. Why don't you use this instead? Excellent. And then, because some people can make innocent mistakes, but if they're not being proactive in educating themselves, they're not doing themselves any favours.

Nate Williams:

Absolutely. And one thing that I'll raise again, after you spoke then is, we're a shared bank of knowledge. All of our members have different impairments, not just physical, not just visual. We've got like neurological, we've got and it sounds like I'm collecting people really, but I'm not. These people have naturally come to us and they're educating us like what works for them. And with that shared bank of knowledge, we can then educate the industry. And that is the real value of TAGS that we're realising as an organisation to the industry. And, we've been speaking with some very high up people to try and realize that vision.

Scott Whitney:

I know when I was doing my GCSE and then thinking about moving on to A levels and I didn't do A levels in the end, but I was thinking what do I want to be at that age? Just I struggled knowing what I wanted for tea at that age, but I was thinking of sports sports journalist or sports photographer, that sort of line of work and, I didn't know where to go. I wasn't in a wheelchair at the time anyway. I was I had no sort of health conditions at all, but I had nowhere to turn. Now, if you are someone with a disability, you need to be able to see something and say, there's other people who've trod on this path. And I think that's that's something that you've given people direction.

Nate Williams:

Yeah. Do you mind me asking what sort of prevented you from pursuing that?

Scott Whitney:

Oh yeah, definitely. So I didn't pursue it because, if I'm looking at going into sports journalism, my written English is terrible. I'm from Cornwall. I wasn't very, my actually my spoken English isn't great either, But my written English wasn't very good. And I speak with, and I write with my dialect and okay. My accent instead of saying is I might put are in and different things like that. So it wasn't, I just wasn't up to the Yeah. I just wasn't up to the standard of doing it wasn't right for me. I just wanted to go to lots of sports grounds and and get involved like yourself.

Nate Williams:

This is what I'll tell to you and any others that thinking of joining TAGS or of the sports media industry, nobody comes into the industry and they look at somebody's writing and they go. That's like the next Guardian columnist, or, it takes time to develop everybody when they start. Like I, I'll look at some of my pieces from years ago and I'll be like, Oh my God. Like, why couldn't I string that sentence like this way or that way? So you're always self criticising yourself, but that shouldn't be like a barrier to progression personally. It should be like, Okay, that wasn't that great, but let's see how we can improve on it next time. And the more you do something, the more those little improvements get made and you eventually get to a level where it becomes like clockwork. Like I couldn't even write a match report on a final whistle when I was at university. I really struggled with it. Now if somebody, if an agency rings me up and saying, I need you to cover X Club at the weekend Cup game. 300 words on the whistle standard, I'll be like, yeah, done. And it's just because I've done it so consistently and so often. So once you stop something, that's when you really lose it. It become like the easiest thing, like eating a slice of toast in the morning or some other analogy that's better than that. That's the reason I formed TAGS. Like I've had a fantastic career, a lot of events, and sport is going through a generational change. And I'll earmark that with the retirement of Roger Feder and sort of Serena Williams in tennis. That was a big change and also the big fight in boxing not happening. But that doesn't mean sports not a great industry. It's a great industry to learn teamwork. It's a great industry to learn consistency, to learn. All these different kinds of skills in one emphatic, exciting environment where you just feel the buzz of the crowd and that sort of lifts your writing as well when you are there. Like I, I can testify that when I did a match report in the pandemic, my writing was probably shocking as well. I just had no energy and there was no crowd to lift that atmosphere. And the reason I formed TAGS is that I think I've got a responsibility now with all the experience that I have done as probably the only wheelchair user that's been at like, that was in Vegas for the Wild of Fury fight. And a couple of games I, a couple of football games. I have only been the only wheelchair user and I always say wheelchair user, I never say disabled because disability is so wide ranging that there could have been more disabled people in that press box that I wasn't aware of. But still, I like to think of this role with TAGS as creating the next generation of disabled journalists so that the more that come in, and there's a system and a cycle of disabled people coming into this industry, learning, progressing to senior levels of management, and then feeding back down into a positive cycle of employment. That is the ultimate aim of TAGS.

Scott Whitney:

So someone leaving school they've got GCSEs, they don't feel uni is the right path for them for whatever reason. But they've really got the drive to get into to get into sports media in some way or another. What advice would you give them?

Nate Williams:

You don't have to go to uni. leaving university was actually harder for me than being in university or being like, because I had so many opportunities. I was working every weekend on sport. I was doing the course, but when that course finished, I was slightly arrogant in the fact that, oh, I've just done the London 2012 Paralympics. I've worked for the rugby football league at Super League Grand Finals, Challenge Cup finals. I should be able to stand out apart amongst the thousands of people trying to get into this industry. But the more I applied, the more rejections I got and I just wasn't understanding it. And I did at some point, remove any mention of my disability or wheelchair user to try and, see if that was what was held in people up. The rejections were still coming through. And I was wondering why. And then I rang up a newspaper the noting and post, and I had done some work with Carl Froch when he was fighting George Groves. And I had a chat with the editor and I said, I recently applied for a position at your paper for a junior sports journalist, and I was just wondering if I could get some direct feedback on my application, if you can find it. And and the first thing he said to me was, Oh we didn't consider your application because you're not NCTJ Qualified, and that stands for National Council of Trainee Journalists. And then I said I've just done three years of university. Like how is that better? And it's just the gold standard of entry level for journalism, and it's the recognized body for trainee journalists. So I rang up the NCTJ and I was like I need to get on your course because I've just done a sports journalism degree for three years and they've said it's no good. Basically they've said, I've gotta come to you for one year. And I was like, how do I get on the course? First you have to fill out an application form and then there's the subject of the 5,000 pound fee. And I was like, so I've just paid nine grand over three years. This was in the Gordon Brown era, by the way, when we were still under labor. So I've paid nine grand in three years now I've gotta pay an extra five grand to basically learn, relearn what I've already learned over three years. And there were, there was no awareness of a Thomas Reid Bursary, which is a bursary I'm now aware of the, the NCTJ endorse for disabled candidates to come onto their course and get qualified. And there was no awareness of that. So I just said, Oh, I've gone on the wrong path here. I've just spent three years becoming a journalist and now they're telling me it's no good. But what I would say to that is just keep the faith if you really want to do something. And that's what I had. And I just kept contacting people that had met through university and somebody who was excellent ambassador for myself as a journalist and as an individual, as a colleague a guy called Nick Dixon at BBC Sport, and he's been responsible for the likes of Reshmin Chouwdhury's career, who's a presenter on BT sport now. And no, he championed me and got me some work experience inside the BBC for 30 days on the radio. And then that 30 days turned into four years rolling contract, doing a variety of roles. So it was a hard 10 months for me, but eventually somebody saw something in me and gave me that opportunity. And I think that's what we're saying to the industry as well as TAGS. If you create the opportunities exclusively for disabled people to come in, so they're not competing against 5 -6,000 applicants coming out of uni, then your figures and your representation will improve and your knowledge of disability will improve and everybody wins.

Scott Whitney:

And I think like you said there, it's that shared knowledge within a media team. I'm not sure what the correct terminology is, but I'm sure you get what I'm trying to say anyway Okay, so what is next for TAGS? What are you looking to achieve tail part of this year, 2023.

Nate Williams:

Firstly, we're just creating awareness and spreading the knowledge and spreading the message of who we are about. That is the first stage. We've got our objectives. We're like telling back to the industry. We're meeting with different people. I was in London with Sky Sports this week. That was a very positive meeting. And we were also with News UK, who were, a very valued supporter of us as well. And all we want to do is grow awareness of disability in the first instance. And we're also a support network for people with disabilities in this industry because when things didn't go to plan in certain jobs I had nowhere to turn I'd say nowhere. There was a HR email that you could, raise your concern and then you'd just get like a case number back and then it'd never be followed through. But there was nobody with lived experience of disability that I could relate to. And, the industry the companies I've worked with since back then have, alleviated that pressure off my shoulders because I have been working with disabled people in the recent two Paralympics, and it was a really positive production. And it showed me the way in which we should encourage disabled people into the industry, not just for the Paralympics, but for roles. And one of them who I'm very proud. Has recently completed a role on the women's euros. One of the biggest to tournaments of the summer, and that's what we're trying to say about TAGS as well, is that don't just put disabled people in the Paralympic box. Yes, we know the Paralympics. Yes, we love it, but we also love football. We also love boxing. We also love rugby, any other sport and get us on the mainstream productions because when you integrate a disabled person into a non-disabled world, predominantly knowledge is shared again. And when I was working at the Commonwealth Games recently on another contract, the common question with a common thing that was said to me from my non-disabled colleagues was, I've learned so much by just being around you. I was out with my mates at the pub last night and I was thinking, How will Nate get in there? That's the thing, that's the light bulb that needs to happen for this industry. So first stage awareness, second stage is having an event to, announce us and, network with the industry and build relationships formally. And then the third stage is probably having an ambassadorial role for people that have come into the industry and done very well. build a awareness campaign of TAGS A third stage is probably I, once TAGS is at a stage of awareness, then we can start working with companies in a, professional way and in improving disability access and inclusion at all workplaces and not just sport.

Scott Whitney:

Now, one of the things that, that I've set out to do is obviously is to learn more about different conditions. Yeah. And one of the ways that I've set out to do this, I love reading. So I've decided that what I want to do is read more autobiographies by disabled people. Predominantly disabled sports people. Again, shared passion there. So I've got one which is next on my reading list from Ed Jackson.

Nate Williams:

Yeah I know Ed very well with Best of Friends. Excellent. The one I was his producer on, on, on the Winter Paralympics when we went down to Scotland to do some curling. So that was a very fun day. Always loved working with Ed.

Scott Whitney:

I'll let you know what I think of the book once I've I've read it and if it, if I don't think it's very good, which I'm sure I won't, I'm sure I'll think it's excellent

Nate Williams:

and say just don't tell him. Yeah. Don't write. No. I love Eds work. I love what he does and what I think one of the ambitions for me to see was like, I want to see a disabled presenter on a mainstream production. And Ed's already broke that ceiling with doing the Heineken Cup for Channel four. And I know he's acquired disability and he's getting used to how the industry works, but, still to break that ceiling and say Yeah, disabled people can be on tv. Let's, not be afraid of showing like the impairment and, Having them exposed that way. But just le seeing them as individuals with valuable knowledge about sport and not just the disability, but the disability element is there to show that people from all backgrounds can do this role and be a presenter on a mainstream sports event.

Scott Whitney:

So the person I've read is a guy called Dylan Alcott. Do you know Dylan?

Nate Williams:

I've interviewed him enough times. he is a very interesting character. But even then he's done massive in Australia. He's a celebrity over there. And I think because of the way society is in this country, I. Think we have that many disabled celebrities because we don't have that sort of culture Ellie Simmons on Strictly Dancing is breaking through that. Right now, Rosie Jones is a, is another example of, having her own trip hazard show. So it is getting there, but not to the level that Dylan has in Australia, where, he's a talk show host. He's invited to all the big events and, he's got his own foundation and, he's honored by Prime Ministers and royalty over there. And we do, but only when they win a gold medal the Paralympics. And, I think we, we need to start celebrating disabled people more in this country rather than asking, can they do a Waltz on strictly.

Scott Whitney:

Exactly, and for longer and for people who aren't aware of who Dylan is. Dylan is the Australian person of the year, I believe it is, or something very similar to that from 2021 to 2022. He's been in the Olympics for Australia as a basketball player, wheelchair basketball player and a wheelchair tennis player, and he's won multiple tennis world titles. He's a DJ he's been to he went to university and lived the party life. There's a, he puts it in his in his autobiography that he he used to like at festivals doing the equivalent of a stage dive in his wheelchair and being carried across people. So he's very much an ambassador for any disabled people to live a life that any non-disabled person can do.

Nate Williams:

And that's what he replicates through his foundation, and he gets people into university, gets, People into basketball chairs, like whatever they want to do, they do through Dylan's Foundation. And I don't think I could research it and I'd probably find it, but off the top of my head, there's not an instant foundation through an athlete or a figure that is disabled like a public figure that is disabled in this country that does the same thing.

Scott Whitney:

And I think what Dylan was able to do was he was able to cross over from para sports, disabled sports into mainstream sports. And he won the Australian Open at their centre court. So his world final was on the center court, which

Nate Williams:

will never happen in Wimbledon.

Scott Whitney:

Correct. And and in actual fact, you

Nate Williams:

go back my personal opinion, but the wheelchair tennis players in this country will never get a centre court spot for their finals. I don't know what like I say, it's an institutional thing and that's why tennis needs to get better. But like I say, they will give coverage to the wheelchair tennis players. They get equal coverage on bbc. Massive breakthrough moment was Alfie Hewitt's final being played live on BBC two the whole way through. I fought at one point it was gonna get cut to red button but they played it because it was so fantastic and it actually, overtook the scheduling of the show. And I thought that was a very big moment for tennis. But in terms of the placing and the arena they're in, I don't think they'll ever get on centre.

Scott Whitney:

And it wasn't long ago that the tennis wasn't actually played at Wimbledon. It was played maybe at Queens or somewhere like that. I think I'm right in saying I might be wrong, but I'm sure that was in in Dylan's book when he first started that that it wasn't at Wimbledon. Cause they didn't want the wheelchairs on the grass court of Wimbledon.

Nate Williams:

Yeah. And that, that is another reason I think that center court is not a viable option for wheelchairs because they're very protective over the ground. There is almost sacred and I don't know, but they don't tell Novak Djokovic of it for eating the grass, do they? They don't tell him off, but they'll tell wheelchairs off for basically being on the centre court grass. But hopefully with a new sense of direction at Wimbledon eventually that will change. From my perspective, it'll be a long time before it does.

Scott Whitney:

Excellent. So as we're getting to the point where we're starting to round up, so quickfire questions. Okay. Who have you, who do you want to meet in the sports world that you've not met already?

Nate Williams:

Oh wow. Michael Jordan, probably.

Scott Whitney:

Who is your favorite person that you've met

Nate Williams:

so far? Oh wow. Quickfire. Probably cuz it meant so much to me at the time and now he's gone from the world, probably Kobe Bryant.

Scott Whitney:

Okay, so what event would you most like to cover that you have or haven't covered before

Nate Williams:

The one event missing from my bucket list is a FIFA World Cup. I've done rugby world cups, I've done grand slams, I've done I've done Paralympics, Olympics all you could think of the one that is missing from the caveat is FIFA World Cup. Okay.

Scott Whitney:

Most accessible Stadium.

Nate Williams:

Stadium. Stadium. I'd say probably the Etihad, because I did work at an England game, an England rugby game there when the World Cup was here in 2015, and I can't remember having any issues at all. But yeah, there might be better ones out there, but that's one I've been to where I had quite a good night.

Scott Whitney:

And if you could have one thing happen for TAGS in the next 12 months, what would that be?

Nate Williams:

Full acknowledgement of existence and value within the industry.

Scott Whitney:

And the final question, this isn't quickfire. If there could be one improvement to society, what would

Nate Williams:

that be? Our society or general?

Scott Whitney:

General society. General.

Nate Williams:

Removing the fear of disability. It's not a bad thing. And how would you do that? Policies, education. For example, in Germany, I see a lot of disabled people. I go to London and I can't find them. And the reason. Is like I can't find the physically disabled person, people like I am, like, like myself and yourself, but so I see a lot of wheelchairs in Germany, but I don't see a lot of wheelchairs in London City Center because of the public transport system. It's very hard to navigate. Whereas Germany, any station in the country, whether it's like a small tube station like West Ham or like smaller than that they always have lifts. And I recently did a video about it because I felt so passionate about it. It's the easiest place in the world I've ever had to work as Berlin and.

Scott Whitney:

I think, the times I go into Manchester, I rarely see other wheelchair users. It's such a shame because like you said, people can learn so much from people with disabilities and, wheelchair users only represent 8% of the disabled, population. So it's, we're not saying that's not disabled people or people with disabilities in the cities, but it seems people in wheelchairs aren't. And a lot of that is because of access.

Nate Williams:

Yes. It's actually a lot higher in this co it's about 15% generally, but like that's why there was a whole campaign created by Global Industries called we the 15 the Paralympics, which was recently won awards. And I know the International Paralympic Committee are very proud of that and they should be cuz they're affecting positive changes an institution. But I went to Croatia re recently cause I did a whole like European tour. Big on my traveling. And in Croatia it's a lot worse in, in Croatia they're about 50 years behind everybody else. All the trams don't have any ramped access. If you need access, you need to call up a week before, and that's because their population generally is only like 3%. Like disabled people. So I don't know how accurate figures can be. I don't know where they're collecting this information from, but it's a lot lower than a lot of, western countries that you know, that, that are like Paris, that are like London, England, and all these very well built cities. Croatia is a lot lower generally. So I think yes, you need to enforce change somehow, but you need to see it first and you need to have the right people in government to support that. And, I don't see a lot of disabled people in our government either. So that's another reason, you need somebody in there. And that's why TAGS is coming into this industry to say okay, you wanna know about disability, You want to know why you're not getting many disabled applicants for your jobs, or, why they're not represented in the figures? We've got a bank of knowledge that can help you solve that issue. And that's what we're trying to help the industry with is be more encouraging to disable people. And an attitude like Croatia is very regressive, but we want to. Progressive with TAGS and we want to be progressive with the country as well, which is quite difficult at the minute with what's happening. But hopefully it will resolve itself in a few years.

Scott Whitney:

And I think I think you will get support from the disabled community the more and more that people hear about you. Because I think because of the way that there are lots of obstacles in the way currently that will then mean that people will get behind organizations like yourself a lot more. So as I wrap up the show where Nate mentioned a second ago about disabled people applying for role, that was a lovely interlink into our partner podcast, The Purple Pound Show, which the next episode is out on the 7th of November. And we'll be covering recruitment for disabled people. So we've got three amazing guests on that. So tune into that one on the 7th of November. And if you want more information about TAGS, it will all be in the show notes. So make sure you click there and you'll be able to find some links to Nate himself and to tags. But thank you very much for listening. And last but not least, Nate, thank you very much for joining us. It's been an absolute pleasure to learn about all the work you're doing.

Nate Williams:

Yeah, let's hope it continues. And I'm very happy to continue spreading the message with yourself and many other people. And if there is anybody listening that you know is like me and Scott who have sports fans and wants a career in the media or is already working in the media and needs some advice and a support network, we're here with the ability group in sport and you can find us on LinkedIn and Facebook.