New assistive technology fund to support disabled people work
The UK Government has announced a new tech fund to ensure disabled people can benefit from the latest advances in technology as part of Access to Work.
Providing financial support to ensure a person’s disability or health condition does not hold them back at work, Access to Work helps companies pay for assistive technology, workplace adaptations, transport and interpreters.
Formerly, medium to large employers were required to pay a mandatory contribution towards the cost of assistive technology required by disabled employees, however, under the new scheme, the cost will now be waived.
The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Sarah Newton, said: “We know that assistive technology has the power to transform lives, helping to break down the barriers disabled people can face at work and so many other areas of their everyday lives.
“Access to Work is providing support to disabled people across the country, and I hope that through the new Tech Fund more disabled people and their employers will be able to benefit from advances in assistive technology that can help create more inclusive workplaces.”
Before the new rules were introduced, medium employers paid the first £500 towards technological solutions and large employers paid the first £1,000, with both paying 20 percent of the cost thereafter up to £10,000.
The new tech fund will hopefully make more opportunities available to those with disabilities and prompt more employers to consider those with additional needs.
Paul Luigi Giuntini, a social worker from Scotland who is registered blind and has one hand, was able to gain employment through the Access to Work scheme.
Paul said: “Access to Work funding is essential for disabled people, as it helps reduce the barriers and difficulties that disabled people face in trying to get into and maintain full-time employment.”
Paul’s support includes Orcam, a lightweight camera which clips onto the wearer’s glasses that can recognise faces and read from any surface in real-time.
“Without the support of Access to Work, I would not have been able to obtain and sustain my current employment. I believe that this funding should be promoted so that disabled people are given every opportunity to improve their life situation,” he added.