APPG report on assistive technology

Year of Publication: 

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology has published its latest report, new report, Talent & Technology: Building bridges to employment for disabled people.

The report, co-chaired by Lilian Greenwood MP and Lord Shinkwin and produced by Policy Connect, recognises the enormous potential of assistive technology to ensure access to work for disabled people. The inquiry has seen first-hand its powerful benefits, with examples including a visually-impaired person using a screen reader to access a recruiting site, a person with Muscular Dystrophy using a mouth stick to navigate an application form, and an autistic person using a specialised app to help them travel to an interview.

Unfortunately, it has also heard difficult stories of disabled people unable to look for and obtain work, due to inaccessible technologies, poor digital practices by organisations, and a lack of skills.  Disabled people are repeatedly shut out of the very schemes designed to offer a starting point in careers, such as apprenticeships or employment support through the job centre.  

The lead recommendations of the report are:

1. The Government should appoint and empower a National Assistive Technology Champion.
2A. 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. 
2B. The DfE should produce and promote guidance and resources for education providers on assistive technology and workplaces and preparing for employment.
3. 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.
4A. The government should take advantage of existing JobCentre Plus (JCP) structures to identify and remove digital barriers to employment for JCP customers. 
4B. The DWP should recognise digital access as a key enabler of employment for all customers, including those who are disabled.
5A. The government should improve targeting of disability support schemes to employers and employees who need them most.
5B. The government should take advantage of existing networks, such as Disability Confident, to skill up employers on digital accessibility and inclusive recruitment practices
5C. Employers should ensure their recruitment and on-boarding practices are digitally accessible and inclusive by following guidance produced by Disability Confident Leaders.
6. The government should measure the success of Access to Work’s grants according to the impact on customers.