Microsoft is partnering with the UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to help jobseekers with disabilities get support and guidance when looking for employment.
The technology company will train 26,000 DWP work coaches in accessibility fundamentals and how to use Microsoft tools such as immersive reader, magnifier and automated captions. This will enable coaches to create accessible experiences for jobseekers and show them how they can use those free tools at home to get support with the use of technology in the recruitment process and the increasingly digital workplace
The Accessibility Fundamentals training will be offered to DWP work coaches from May.
Hector Minto, Senior Tech Evangelist at Microsoft UK, said: “It is critical that people with disabilities get the right advice and support to secure or retain employment. The steps we are taking with the DWP are an example of the right intervention being deployed at the right time and at the required scale. We have been using this accessibility training at Microsoft for the past three years and know the impact it has made on our own employees’ ability and confidence to support people with disabilities.
“We are committed to partnering with governments to share our learnings, resources and build platforms to drive digital inclusion and accessibility. The work coach training programme has the potential to fundamentally transform the relationship between the job candidate with a disability and the job coach, and to ensure trusted advice extends to all UK citizens.”
Microsoft is also partnering with UK charity SeeAbility to grow its Creating Connections programme, which aims to promote digital inclusion by developing connections and skills in communities across the UK. Through this partnership, Microsoft and SeeAbility will invest in training programs for carers to build their digital skills, so they can help people with disabilities rebuild and strengthen social connections following lockdown.