The Workplace Summit last week tackled the question of how AT can help more people into work.

Hosted by Atos at its London HQ, the Summit saw attendees working in groups on solutions to what Workplace Special Interest Group chair Noel Duffy dubbed employer fear: the concern employers have, especially smaller ones, about the difficulties they might face in employing disabled people.

With just 49% of disabled people in work, compared to over 80% of non-disabled people, the Government has pledged to get 1m disabled people into work by 2027.

The Summit looked at how this gap might be bridged beginning with the business case for investing in assistive technology to enable disabled people into work. Attendees also considered how an organisation could move from just complying with regulations to gaining a competitive advantage, with presentations from Barclays and Atos.

Finally, the groups turned their attention to how to gain the attention of influencers inside and outside organisations with the assistance of representatives from the All-Party Parliamentary Group amd MicrolinkPC.

BATA’s Workplace Special Interest Group was able to draft a six- programme for 2019:

  • Overhaul of Access to Work: discussions about A2W were the most lively of the day reinforcing the group’s intention to hold an A2W event to explore how the scheme works now and how it could be improved.
  • Loans to buy AT in a Motability-type scheme were suggested by RNIB.
  • SMEs, many of whom struggle to create a disability friendly workplace, need advice and information to encourage them. Employers groups such as Chambers of Commerce were identified as the way to reach SMEs.
  • Develop stories and case studies in text and video that demonstrate the power of AT.
  • Support efforts to develop apprenticeships in AT, a particular project of Neil Milliken of Atos.
  • Curate an online resource to help employers.
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