The Government’s Best Kept Secret

In 1994, John Major’s Conservative government launched a scheme to help ease some of the concerns of British industry with regard to employing disabled people. It was to encourage a more diverse and inclusive workforce. This scheme was called Access to Work. It made available a pot of money to address some of the additional expenses involved in adapting a workplace environment to accommodate the extra physical, sensory or cognitive needs of its workforce.

After the 2010 equality act was passed requiring all employers to make “reasonable adjustments” to accommodate employees with a disability, in 2011 the then coalition government commissioned Liz Sayce to conduct a review of the effectiveness of the available support.

This report showed that Access to Work was extremely useful and efficient when applied, but that UK businesses were largely unaware of its existence. Terming it “the government’s best kept secret”.

This in turn led to increased marketing to employers by the government. To showcase how the scheme also covered things such as apprenticeship placements and work experience.

Here at Iansyst, we are perfectly placed to assist businesses and their staff in applying for this fund. We offer a range of assessment and training services with regards to assistive technology for both the individual and IT staff.

An example that illustrates some of our impact can be seen when we were approached by a company with regards to a female employee. She had confided in her line manager about her dyslexia. Although the line manager was very supportive, the team she worked with couldn’t understand the difficulty she was having. They couldn’t understand why it took longer for her to read her emails and to work on her computer.

We are able to recommend and supply software that helped with her dyslexia, such as text-to-speech, which can help read documents aloud and makes it easier for individuals to process information.

We were also able to carry out dyslexia awareness training for her team. In fact the individual was the only person that didn’t have to join in with this. In the training session, everybody was given something to read. Something that at first glance appeared normal, but actually was a couple of paragraphs that were written backwards.

Join our event “Enabling Inclusive and Accessible Strategies in the Workplace” on the 20th of September at the Moller Centre, Cambridge. This is a great opportunity for HR and Business Professionals to develop practices on supporting disabled employees in the workplace.

What emerged from this was firstly, how long it took the group to realise the text was written backwards. Secondly, the difficulty they faced comprehending the text, and afterwards they were unable to answer three simple questions about the content.

The exercise was designed to place them into their colleague’s shoes and give them a true insight into a little of the difficulties faced by someone that has dyslexia. In this real life example all of the colleagues commented about how tired they were.

This is just a small example of some of the ways Access to Work helps businesses. All to help fund and enable assessments, assistive technology and training.

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