Atec conference: The transition from university to work: the challenges of taking assistive tech with you
The size of the disability employment gap highlights the challenges disabled people have to overcome to gain meaningful employment. But the UK government has promised to halve the gap and get 1.2 million more disabled people into work.
Finding work can be a very challenging step for young disabled people to make and current debate in this area also throws up some interesting questions.
For example, when a disabled person moves from university to work they need to reapply for benefits to support them with their assistive technology.
But they will need support all the way through their education and working lives – so should funding follow an individual as opposed to being orientated around the institutions which they are attached to, and move between?
As a starting point, some disabled students may feel they’ll be at a disadvantage in the job market, however, employers are obliged to make reasonable adjustments as outlined in the Equality Act 2010.
Reasonable adjustments for disabled employees can include providing disabled people with assistive technology, but this can be more of a challenge for SMEs to afford.
To that end, disabled people can apply for Access to Work grant funding to help their employers buy assistive technology that allows them to either start work or stay in work.
Also, when looking at their steps into employment disabled students can take advantage of the disability employment advisor at every Job Centre Plus throughout the UK.
For those disabled graduates who have recently made the move in employment, Purple Space offers a learning, networking and professional development hub for disabled employees, employee network leaders and allies from all sectors and trades.
Employers can make sure they are doing what they should be by taking part in the government’s Disability Confident scheme, which offer employers guidance to help them attract, recruit and retain disabled people.
There’s also support available to employers through organisations like the Business Disability Forum, which offers advice, consultancy and resources to businesses to make it easier to do business with and employ disabled people.
In 2008 the Business Disability Forum also launched the Technology Task Force. It brings employers and ICT suppliers together to help make businesses ICT disability competent and to encourage ICT suppliers to deliver accessible and usable products and services to businesses.
Other resources available to employers include Clear Kit, which offers employers a complete advice package on recruitment and disability.
To find out more about how assistive technology can help disabled young people into employment visit www.ateconference.com for further information and to book tickets.
VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please call 02037405973 or email [email protected] for more information.
We are also officially recommended by Disability Confident as a step on achieving Employer status, please click here for more information.