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Employers ‘Need Support To Make Job Applications Accessible’

Employers need more support to make their digital job application processes accessible to people with disabilities, according to a new report from disability employment services charity Shaw Trust.

The report, ‘Making work a real choice’, examines the government’s disability employment programme Work Choice through the experiences of more than 400 people – a mix of job applicants, employers, and Shaw Trust staff.

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Entrepreneurship: Do People With Chronic Conditions Make Great Entrepreneurs?

By Julie Howell

Consider this: does having a long-term illness have any advantages?

I’ve been living with multiple sclerosis since age 19. Until recently, I worked for other people, evangelising about the many benefits of web accessibility. Following redundancy in 2010, I found myself at another of life’s crossroads. Should I find another job, or take the road less travelled and start my own business? I plumped for the latter and I haven’t looked back.

Recently, I was asked to address a networking meeting attended by local entrepreneurs. Never having had the desire to scale a mountain or swim with sharks, some ‘thinking outside of the box’ was required.

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ICT Data Gap ‘Hindering Disabled Business Owners’

A lack of reliable data about the use of ICT by people with disabilities is making it harder for disabled entrepreneurs to succeed, delegates heard at a recent debate hosted by the Information Technologists’ Company, a livery company of the City of London.

The debate was on the motion: “This House believes that it is harder for disabled entrepreneurs to compete in the fast-moving digital age”.
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Technology and disabled entrepreneurship – Open for Business?

By Tristan Parker.

Few businesses in the modern world do not make use of digital technology. But how does this affect the half a million disabled people running their own businesses in the UK? This was the question posed earlier this month by the Information Technologists’ Company (ITC) as they debated the motion: “This House believes that it is harder for disabled entrepreneurs to compete in the fast-moving digital age.”

Speaking in support of the motion was Penny Melville-Brown, senior consultant at Disability Dynamics ( http://www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk/ ), an organisation offering equality training and consultancy. She argued that as well as poor access to technology, the technology itself was also holding back disabled people in business.
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Doing IT Differently: The Road To Achievement

By Katherine Ledger.

A practical guide to help people overcome barriers to using IT and live an independent life, inexpensively, has been published by the Royal Association for Disability Rights (RADAR), the UK’s leading pan-disability organisation. ‘Doing IT Differently: Enabling everyone to use computer and information technology’ is sponsored by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (now the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), AbilityNet, Microlink and the Information Technologists Company.

Part of a series of self-help publications called Doing Life Differently, the booklet is for everybody at all levels of experience and ages who has problems accessing IT, so it is totally inclusive. It guides the reader through a host of jargon on how to choose and use personal computers, desktops, laptops, mobile phones, smartphones and TVs.
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Survey Uncovers “Depressing Picture” For Employees

A low level of accessibility found in internal ICT systems for staff is creating a “depressing picture for employment of people with disabilities”, according to a new survey carried out in conjunction with E-Access Bulletin.

The research, conducted by Bloor Research with E-Access Bulletin and Ability Magazine, found private sector organisations have more accessible internal ICT systems than organisations in the public sector, with 44% of private sector companies surveyed having more than 70% of their internal systems accessible, compared with only 29% of public sector bodies surveyed.
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Research – Accessibility: ‘Just The Right Thing To Do’

Article by Peter Abrahams.

In the past year or two it has been possible to detect heightened awareness of the need for accessibility of ICT products and services. This has partly been brought about by court cases such as that filed against Target.com in the US, where the National Federation of the Blind claimed that the company’s website was inaccessible and violated disability legislation ( http://www.headstar.com/eablive/?p=206 ).

Other factors increasing awareness of accessibility issues include new standards such as the updated Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0; increased pressure from governments to make e-government services accessible to all; and the ongoing ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (
http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtml ).
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Outdated ‘Legacy’ Systems Hindering Accessibility

A lack of accessibility in old ICT systems and lack of budget are the two main barriers preventing organisations from making their internal and external ICT systems more accessible for people with disabilities, according to the results of the new survey.

These factors were each cited by 40% of respondents as ‘strong’ or ‘very strong’ barriers to implementation of accessibility in a survey carried out by Bloor Research in conjunction with E-Access Bulletin’s publisher Headstar and Ability Magazine. The finding suggests that providing tools for improving the accessibility of these ‘legacy’ systems could be an interesting business opportunity, say the survey’s creators. Less than a quarter of respondents quoted lack of understanding of accessibility issues as a barrier to progress.
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More Workplace Assistance Needed With IT, Guide Warns

Employers should do more to help disabled people with their IT workplace needs, according to a new guide from the Employers’ Forum on Disability (EFD).

The ‘Reasonable adjustments – line manager guide’ (
http://fastlink.headstar.com/efd1 )
advises employers to ensure they procure the correct equipment to ensure disabled workers can work to their full potential, including voice-activated software; adapted keyboards; and chairs which support the back and neck.
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‘Digital Mentor’ Trials Form Part Of Draft Inclusion Plan

The government is to pilot a ‘digital mentors’ scheme to help people in deprived areas use technologies such as websites, podcasts and digital photography to make their voices heard, collaborate and improve access to services.

The initiative forms part of a new action plan for digital inclusion (http://fastlink.headstar.com/action2),launched by Digital Inclusion minister Paul Murphy and the department of Communities and Local Government (CLG).

An estimated 17 million people over the age of 15 are not using computers and the internet, and there is a strong link between digital and social exclusion and disabled people with disabled people among those most excluded from the digital technologies at the heart of the developing knowledge economy, the plan says.
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