Left to right: Stephen Dering, head of engagement, Middle East, Direct Access; Steven Mifsud, managing director, Direct Access and Andrew Jackson, British Consul General to Dubai, photographed at the British Embassy in Dubai
Left to right: Stephen Dering, head of engagement, Middle East, Direct Access; Steven Mifsud, managing director, Direct Access and Andrew Jackson, British Consul General to Dubai, photographed at the British Embassy in Dubai

UK accessibility practice Direct Access opens Dubai office

Direct Access, a UK disability accessibility firm, has recently launched its first international office in Dubai.

The company's expansion comes following a number of contract wins including work for restaurant chain Nando's, and consultancy for the Queen's Birthday Party at the British Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

"I had read that the leader of Dubai wanted the city to be the most accessible in the world by 2020, so this looked like the ideal place to pursue our international ambitions," said founder and managing director of Direct Access Steven Mifsud, who is deaf. "With support from the Department for International Trade, we were able to secure matched funding from the European Regional Development Fund in Cheshire for our initial visit to the UAE to assist us with our export ambitions." 

Mifsud added that the funding allowed the company to attend the AccessAbilities Conference and Exhibition held in Dubai last November, and since then, the Direct Access team has been looking at ways to provide inclusive design in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. 

"The 2017 launch of the Dubai Universal Design Code by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, was the opportunity we needed to support clients with ensuring compliance with accessibility," Mifsud said. 

"What makes us unique is that [everyone on] our team has a disability, [so we] provide our clients with unrivalled expertise into the barriers that disabled people face." 

Direct Access plans to look at further contracts in rail infrastructure, hospitality, retail, education and healthcare projects across the Middle East and North Africa. 

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