Accessibites – Greater IT skills for all

Published Date
21/05/2009
Author
Reason Digital
Category
Trailblazers

A charity is aiding blind and disabled people to have greater independence by digital IT skills tutoring. The charity UCanDoIT estimates that there are about 150,000 disabled people who are “digitally excluded” living in the UK and could benefit from its programme.

This programme offers one-to-one tuition in the student’s home and UCanDoIT says, “it has helped 3,000 people since 2000.” They’ve also been lobbying the government for a £3m grant to provide this service across the country.

The charity added, “There is little documentation that exclusively addresses the digital exclusion of people with disabilities…” Though, they propose reducing the number of disabled people who are digitally excluded by 50% by next year to meet a directive by the EU.

This scheme seems like an excellent programme because there are many disabled people who are not taking advantage of IT and assistive technology, as there are so few organisations to support their varying and complex needs. This seems like a real shame as access to such facilities could have a marked improvement on their quality of life.

As a severely disabled wheelchair user, I consider myself to be quite tech savvy (as my dad was in the IT industry for over 30 years) and strongly feel that more should be done to help disabled people learn the IT skills that could benefit them and give  them an added advantage in the workplace and life.

UCanDoIT would be a good organisation for Trailblazers to support and I believe more disabled people could learn beyond the basic IT skills and consider going into the creative industries, as i plan to myself. That being said, learning basic IT skills first that are accessible to end users is crucial, and we as a disabled community as a whole need to lobby for greater funding for organisations like this to give us an equal opportunity.

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By Sulaiman Khan

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