26 OCT 2022


An HS2 manager has been recognised by the Shaw Trust for her work supporting people with disabilities. 

HS2’s workforce equality, diversity  and inclusion (EDI) manager Maria Grazia-Zedda, who is severely deaf, has been named in the UK’s top 100 most influential people living with an impairment or disability. 

Her award was presented at an event at the Landmark Hotel in London recently.

The annual Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 celebrates the most influential disabled people in the UK, nominated by the public and judged by an independent panel.

Grazia-Zedda, who is originally from Cagliari, Sardinia, and now lives in south-east London, is passionate about disability rights and celebrated the publication of her first novel earlier this year on disability and intersectional rights. 

Written in her first language, Italian, the novel is based on her own true story and the struggles she faced when she left Italy as a teenager to start building a new life in the UK.

She has worked at HS2 for almost five years and plays a lead role in ensuring HS2 meets its corporate EDI commitments and targets – this includes attracting more women into the sector and increasing the number of people from BAME and underrepresented groups into employment.

Her achievements over the last 12 months, which were pivotal to her award win, include the development and launch of HS2’s new accessibility policy and digital accessibility hub – which launched on International Disabled People’s Day in December 2021.

She said: “It’s an absolute honour to have been recognised and I thank my colleagues at HS2 for their continued support, as we drive to set new standards which embed and promote equality and diversity in everything we do

“I want people to feel empowered to speak up, and speak out, about their disability and HS2 shares that passion. With a 28,000-strong workforce, we can make a real difference to people’s lives and drive positive change right across the construction sector.”

Grazia-Zedda describes her ultimate goal as the day in which accessibility becomes ‘business as usual’ and not a special request. 

Her own reliance on captioning and lipreading to communicate is a simple reminder of how quickly a person can feel disconnected.

She added: “Remote working, during the pandemic, raised awareness of the simple IT adjustments that can be made to enhance communication with people who have multiple and differing needs. 

“With that same level of awareness and commitment channelled into the workplace environment, we can make a real difference to so many people’s lives.” 

In February 2021, HS2 earned the accolade of becoming the only organisation in the UK to have achieved the Clear Assured Platinum Standard accreditation. 

It received the award in recognition of its commitment to embedding inclusive best practice into all elements of its work, including the design and delivery of Britain’s new railway.


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