BETT 2018

BETT is the largest educational show in the UK and Europe. BATA will not have a presence at BETT this year but we are hopeful for BETT 2019. If anyone wants to meet up during BETT please contact Myles Pilling on 07760473943 or myles.pilling@bataonline.org .

 

Visit BATA at Naidex

The British Assistive Technology Association is partnering with Naidex for what is set to be a fantastic show. You’ll find us on stand 5160, so be sure to pop by and say hello, we’d love to meet you.

Europe’s most exciting disability and independent living event will return to the NEC Birmingham on the April 25 and 26 for an impressive 44th time. The 2017 show smashed all expectations, re-establishing Naidex as a hub of innovation, but 2018 promises to exceed that.

With an increased floor plan of 300 international exhibitors, a comprehensive agenda of 200 educational seminars, one-to-one business advice, live demos, and unparalleled networking opportunities, Naidex is absolutely unmissable – and it’s free!

Register for you FREE ticket to attend via the website by clicking here.

See you there.

Government probes role of assistive technology in cutting barriers to work

downs syndrome man at laptopThe Work and Pensions Select Committee, which oversees the work of the Department for Work and Pensions, has launched an inquiry into assistive technology.The investigation will focus on the role that assistive tech can play in removing barriers to work and helping disabled people stay in work.
The inquiry follows an earlier one that focused on the gap in employment rates between disabled and non-disabled people.The result of the the AT inquiry will be published in a report aimed at giving disabled people better opportunities to get into work.

Some 3.7m disabled people are currently economically inactive. Disabled people are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people, according to a Labour Force survey published early in 2017.

Accessible hardware and software, developments in apps and wearable technology will come under the Committee’s microscope, along with technology that helps people get to work and access the building they work in.
The Government has recently announced a number of measures including:
Providing more structured support and information for employers to encourage them to take on and retain disabled employees;
Improvements to Access to Work, including a new expectation that awards will be portable, with claimants able to take equipment from job to job;
A commitment to a “comprehensive cross-Government programme of analysis and research on incentives and expectations” for employers, it will report back on preliminary work in 2018.
Interested parties can submit evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee via its evidence portal. The deadline for submissions is 19 January 2018.

BATA recently attended a round table discussion organised by Disability Rights UK on how more disabled people could find employment in the growth sectors of the economy such as high tech, aviation and the media.

“We are bottom of the pile: so far down the ladder in terms of opportunities,” said Lord Kevin Shinkwin, who chaired the round table event. “We have so far to climb in terms of obtaining action.”

Atos puts its web know-how at BATA’s disposal

 

Atos, a leading player in the global digital services market, heads a number of firms backing the British Assistive Technology Association by providing invaluable assistance in developing our website www.bataonline.org.

The company, which counts the BBC and the Department of Health among its portfolio of UK clients, has put its 14-strong accessibility team at BATA’s disposal to research and advise on the best way of building its site.

They join members that have assisted BATA’s web effort including the Digital Accessibility Centre whose disabled testers have advised on web accessibility and literacy software company Texthelp, which is providing its Browsealoud accessibility tool.

“We want to support the continuing professionalisation of AT and to ensure that BATA is an organization that is welcoming to large corporations in order to ensure that disabled people have more fulfilling lives,” says Neil Milliken, Head of Accessibility & Digital Inclusion at Atos.

Neil and his unit provide consultancy and AT services to Atos colleagues and Atos’s customers. They oversee the delivery of software remotely but also go on site to support individuals using a range of AT products such as JAWS and Dragon NaturallySpeaking. They test and audit clients’ systems for accessibility and write scripts for assistive software.

“I believe we need to work with the supply chain to deliver the best quality of assistive software and services to our staff and customers” explains Neil. “BATA, as the organisation representing professionals, is the best way of engaging with those people involved with assistive technology.”

Neil is keen to help assistive software companies adopt licencing practices that are big company friendly involving less paperwork, less disruption for users and that avoid complex licensing mechanisms that often don’t work in controlled enterprise environments.

Atos is one of a growing number of companies that has appointed a Chief Diversity Officer with a remit that covers disability inclusion. However, accessibility and inclusion in the workplace is an issue that has still got a long way to go, says Neil, even if it has come on in leaps and bounds over the last ten years.

For example, Atos and the BBC are working on a joint project to challenge unconscious bias and assumptions about age, race, gender and disability.

“People are realising that we have an ageing population where wealth is in the asset owning elderly cohort, who are the people most likely to be disabled. As the workforce becomes older, accessibility will soon become an even greater issue for employers, so it’s vital to take steps towards greater inclusion now.”

Atos has developed an AT apprenticeship scheme as part of its diversity programme. And the company is working with the Tech Partnership to develop a national standard for AT apprenticeships. “We need to grow the number of people with these skills, so we don’t keep stealing people from one another,” Neil points out.

In a further move to boost AT skills, Neil is working with Southampton University to adapt its massive open online course (MOOC) with the aim of making the training material available to people in business  to learn about accessibility. Topics such as alt text and accessible captcha authentication will be available in bite-size chunks on the learning platform.

Hiring disabled people is also a key objective for Atos, especially younger ones who are outnumbered by older workers. To make its recruitment more inclusive, the company is trialling blind hiring where facts such a person’s age, gender and disability are initially taken out when sifting applications.

The company is also experimenting with work trials where an applicant works for a period before the company makes a decision on whether to hire them, an approach aimed at recruiting more neurodiverse employees.

Neil has many outside interests. He is the Atos representative on the Business Taskforce for Assistive Technology which has members across industry and government. He is a member of the W3C Accessibility Guidelines Working Group He also runs www.AXSChat.com, an AT forum on social media.

“I am very driven by an urge to make the world a more inclusive place. I am involved with research projects about dyslexia and I am about to become a board member of an international charity,” he explains.

Video shows what it is like to have dyslexia

British graphic and motion designer Josh Penn has created a 60-second animation that communicates what it is like to have dyslexia.

The animation, which Penn made during his final year of his Graphic Design: Visual Communication degree at University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury, sees typography moving, spinning and flickering around the screen to form jumbled words. Letters morph into each other and fade into the background to give an impression of what it’s like to suffer from the reading disorder.

Town hall contracts overlook accessibility

More than 60 per cent of outsourcing deals between local authorities and third-party suppliers happen without discussion of disability requirements, according to a study by the Business Disability Forum.

Many local authorities could be risking paying more to retrofit services or offices for accessibility which have been allowed to be delivered in a way that does not cater to disabled people.

A study entitled Disability-smart approaches to engaging suppliers and partners, conducted with businesses in the private and public sector, found that only one in four organisations review contracts with third-party suppliers to ensure they delivered on requirement for inclusion and accessibility while less than two in five reported having discussions with these suppliers about how they approach disability outside of formal processes.

The deals are worth £50 billion and affect functions ranging from HR and recruitment to facilities management and construction services.

Diane Lightfoot, chief executive officer at Business Disability Forum, said: “Local authorities continue to face shrinking budgets but they could be incurring a considerable additional expense through the way that they outsource services or parts of them.

“A significant proportion of the population in every local authority area in the country will have a disability or long-term health condition that could impact on their ability to access services. Ensuring that they can access services, then, can never be an afterthought: it has to be a central part of service design.

“Arrangements to procure outside suppliers for services are, unfortunately, where accessibility can be missed out – leading to legal risks and extra costs down the line in building accessibility measures in later.”

NASEN honours SEN practitioners

The National Association of Special Educational Needs (NASEN) charity, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, will be making its first annual awards to schools, colleges and individual professionals at a black tie ceremony in London at the Museum of London on October 19.
NASEN will be making 16 awards from 126 entries, covering a wide variety of educational settings. BATA was honoured to be invited to help judge the technology and excellent practice in further education categories which attracted particularly strong entries.

Sponsored walk – “Putting BATA on the Map!”

 

Photo fo all the locations we visited

Disabled people are often prevented from making the most of their lives because of the barriers that stop them working and taking part in everyday activities. Assistive technology can change that. The British Assistive Technology Association was set up to campaign to raise awareness of AT and to encourage the development of new technologies. One of the areas BATA is keen to promote is aids for people who have a vision impairment. To fund activities in this area members are undertaking a sponsored walk in the Peak District. A group of members set off on a 25km hike between Bakewell, via Ashford in the Water to Tideswell and finally Ashwood, the initial letters of the four places spelling out BATA . After a long day 4 very tired but happy council members made it to the finish line! Your support would be much appreciated and will help our work of advancing the cause of assistive technology.

Click on the link below to donate

“Putting BATA on the map”

 

Sponsored walk – "Putting BATA on the Map!"

 

Photo fo all the locations we visited

Disabled people are often prevented from making the most of their lives because of the barriers that stop them working and taking part in everyday activities. Assistive technology can change that. The British Assistive Technology Association was set up to campaign to raise awareness of AT and to encourage the development of new technologies. One of the areas BATA is keen to promote is aids for people who have a vision impairment. To fund activities in this area members are undertaking a sponsored walk in the Peak District. A group of members set off on a 25km hike between Bakewell, via Ashford in the Water to Tideswell and finally Ashwood, the initial letters of the four places spelling out BATA . After a long day 4 very tired but happy council members made it to the finish line! Your support would be much appreciated and will help our work of advancing the cause of assistive technology.

Click on the link below to donate

“Putting BATA on the map”