Assistive Technology to help employees achieve more in the Workplace

The concept of assistive technology to help employees achieve more in the workplace is nothing new. It’s the portability of many of the assistive devices which is the relatively new trend having a big impact on how we work.

Time was, that all assistive tech devices were big, clunky pieces of equipment. They were often cumbersome and drew attention to learning and physical disabilities. Today, assistive devices often employ the same types of technology as other pieces of kit around the workplace.

Examples of such devices include screen-reading software that reads out loud into headphones, speech dictation programmes, amplified handsets and optical scanners.

Big-name companies, such as Dell, CitiBank, IBM, Microsoft and Deloitte, have all made a conscious effort to use assistive technologies to help young graduates with disabilities get into the workplace. Ministers, MPs and tech companies have also joined forces to learn more about the impact which technology can have on disabled peoples’ lives.

A roundtable event organised by Leonard Cheshire recently brought together MPs and representatives of major organisations to discuss the issue. The government has a target of getting one million more disabled people into employment by 2027. The key to achieving this, according to Leonard Cheshire, is to prioritise the role of accessible and assistive technology.

Both employers and potential users need better awareness of the benefits of the technology. Disabled people, in turn, need to have access to the technology and the confidence to use it. Cheshire believes that the government must lead the way, by procuring technology that meets European accessibility standards and encouraging private sector businesses to follow suit.

An array of notable figures attended the roundtable event. They included Caroline Dinenage, Minister of State for Care, Seema Malhotra, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology, and Justin Tomlinson, Minister for Disabled People. They – and the other attendees – were treated to a showcase of ground-breaking accessible and assistive technology.

 

Leonard Cheshire’s Chief Executive Neil Heslop said:

“Accessible and assistive technology can transform lives by enabling a wide range of employment opportunities for disabled people, enriching the talent available to employers. We need greater awareness of the possibilities and improved access to the kit and skills to make a difference and this showcase deepens understanding amongst Parliamentarians.”