Can Technology Stimulate Disability Employment?

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Access To Work Part 3: The Workplace Assessment
18/05/2017
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lightbulb hand cover photo text - technology and disability employment

Technology is well-recognised as an enabler for a more inclusive society. In this blog, learn about the role of technology in facilitating disability employment. From assistive technology to digital skills, how inclusive are workplaces for disabled people?

The first human rights treaty specifically addressing the needs of people with disabilities (2006) consistently brings up the role of information and communication technology in promoting the independence and full participation of disabled people. More than ten years later, are we taking the full advantage of the potential technology can offer?

Technology can lower barriers that people with disabilities encounter in their daily lives through increased participation and accessibility. The benefits of the digital society encourage individuals to act more independently while being connected with people all across the globe. As an enabling tool, ICT is crucial for facilitating inclusion. In the digital age, content is created and delivered in multiple formats through various media channels, and people can more readily use the form of communication that suit their needs, be it text, audio or video.

Infographic - 5 examples of Assistive Technology

Infographic – Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology

Technology has been actively adopted as a tool for communication, but can the digital realm make workplaces more inclusive for disabled people?

Devices that can help a person to understand information more clearly or to help express thoughts more easily are often referred to as assistive technology. These five examples of groundbreaking assistive technology are providing new opportunities for disabled people to take an ever more central role in the world of work.

  • The Sesame Phone is a touch-free smartphone made for people with limited or no use of their hands. A combination of voice commands and turns of the head lets the user manipulate the phone’s screen and apps.
  • Orcam is a device that recognises text and objects and describes them to its user via a bone-conduction earpiece and creates artificial vision.
  • Nano Retina (NR600 implant and eyeglasses) is designed to improve the quality of life of blind people by replacing the natural function of the diseased retina with an artificial retina.
  • Braille Keyboard is a device that allows blind or visually impaired people to type and enter instructions for the computer in braille.
  • Project Ray Smartphones are vision-free smartphones controlled via touch, voice and sound controls designed for the visually impaired.

Digital Skills as Route to Employment

Technology, however, doesn’t have to solely acquire the assistive function. The knowledge of digital technologies in itself should be viewed as route to employment empowering people with disabilities to compete in the increasingly digital work environment. People with disabilities who are housebound often are proficient IT users and possess wide-ranging digital skills.

The European Commission reports that in five to ten years time, 90 percent of jobs will require some level of digital skills. Work processes are shifting online; and email, websites, social media are mainstays in the workplace enabling remote work environment. Technology, surely, has the potential to become a key driver for increased recruitment of people with disabilities due to the high demand for employees with IT proficiency.

Many people with disabilities pursue self-employment due to the barriers of getting jobs in the competitive labour market as well as the opportunity of flexible working hours. The internet and digital technologies are changing the field of self-employment to an online work-from-home environment, and address many of the previous barriers to labour market participation. The growing recognition through remote distributed work facilitate a more inclusive work environment for people with disabilities requiring schedule flexibility and alternative work arrangements.

We believe that the employment of disabled people with digital skills can build the pipeline of IT talent that organizations need to take full advantage of the digital revolution. DNDP Digital will comprise of people with disabilities using their skills to provide web development and design service, digital marketing and content writing for small businesses.

To talk to DNDP about employment opportunities or to support disabled workers by adding a socially driven courier into your supply chain, click ‘Chat Now’ or call us on 01355 813400

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