TPT welcomes new report on how technology can make work accessible to all
TPT welcomes recommendations made in a new report from Policy Connect and the APPG* for Assistive Technology on how to harness technology to make the world of work accessible to all.
Talent and Technology: building bridges to employment for disabled people details the role of technology in the experiences of disabled people transitioning into the workforce and makes recommendations for how the UK can harness the power of these tools and inclusive practices to make the world of work accessible to all.
The Employment and Education teams at TPT fed into the evidence sessions, much of which is reflected in the final report.
Martin Sigsworth, Senior Employment Manager with the charity, said: “We are particularly pleased to see within the recommendations that there needs to be more support to disabled people to learn how to use their assistive technology as part of any government funded employment programmes.
“Assistive technology only levels the playing field if individuals know how to use it and one of the biggest barriers to blind and partially sighted people getting into the workplace is a lack of knowledge about assistive technology and a lack of skills in using it in the workplace. It is great to see this included as a recommendation.”
In the report’s foreword, APPG Co-chairs, Lilian Greenwood MP and Lord Shinkwin, said: “The increasing use of digital tools in education, training, recruitment, and job roles, accelerated by Covid-19, is a mixed blessing for disabled people. These technologies represent unprecedented opportunities to remove barriers to employment, such as remote working for those who need to shield or who experience travel difficulties. However, inaccessible technologies and poor digital practices are actually preventing disabled people from finding and thriving in work.”
An overview of the recommendations in the report
- The Government should appoint and empower a National Assistive Technology Champion.
- Education providers should ensure careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG) and disability support and guidance is joined-up so that education leavers know how to access AT and support to enable their transition into employment.
- The DfE should produce and promote guidance and resources for education providers on assistive technology and workplaces and preparing for employment.
- The DfE and DWP should collaborate to ensure that disabled people on work placements/traineeships/apprenticeships are able to use assistive technology from Day One of their placements.
- The government should take advantage of existing JobCentre Plus (JCP) structures to identify and remove digital barriers to employment for JCP customers.
- The DWP should recognise digital access as a key enabler of employment for all customers, including those who are disabled.
- The government should improve targeting of disability support schemes to employers and employees who need them most (e.g. boosting the number of SMEs in the Disability Confident scheme; increasing the proportion of self-employed people using Access to Work).
- The government should take advantage of existing networks, such as Disability Confident, to skill up employers on digital accessibility and inclusive recruitment practices.
- Employers should ensure their recruitment and on-boarding practices are digitally accessible and inclusive by following guidance produced by Disability Confident Leaders.
- The government should measure the success of Access to Work’s grants according to the impact on customers.
Read the full report: Talent and Technology: building bridges to employment for disabled people
TPT recently shared the results of a study it had funded that followed the post-school transition experiences of 80 young people with vision impairment. Its research lead, Rachel Hewitt from the Vision Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research (VICTAR) at the University of Birmingham, also gave evidence to the committee which included the results of this Longitudinal Transitions Study.
The decade-long study investigated the participants’ experiences in further education, higher education, apprenticeships, gap years and entering the labour market.
The concluding findings demonstrate that more must be done to ensure that young people with vision impairment have an equitable educational experience and that they are supported to reach their potential in life.
You can read more on the Longitudinal Transitions Study here: www.pocklington-trust.org.uk/student-support/policy-and-campaigning/longitudinal-transition-study
*The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology aims to disseminate knowledge, generate debate and facilitate engagement on assistive technology amongst Members of both Houses of Parliament.
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