Sarah Newton MP, the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work has announced a new Tech Fund as part of the Access to Work scheme, offering employers significant savings on the cost of assistive technology for disabled workers.
The Access to Work programme provides financial support for assistive technology, workplace adaptations, transport and interpreters, enabling people with disabilities or health conditions to seek employment.
Employers will be able to make a significant saving through the new Tech Fund. The government has now waived that mandatory contribution requirement which demanded medium employers pay the first £500 towards technological solutions and large employers the first £1,000, with both then paying 20% of the cost thereafter up to £10,000.
Ms 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.”
Paul Luigi Giuntini is a social worker from Scotland who is registered blind and has one hand. Through the Access to Work programme, Paul has been able to fund advanced assistive technology to help him do his job.
Paul’s support includes a lightweight Orcam camera which clips onto the wearer’s glasses that can recognise faces and read from any surface in real time.
Paul told DIGIT: “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.
“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.”