Access to Work is a Government scheme that funds any necessary adjustments in the workplace to make it accessible for disabled employees.
It can fund:
- aid and equipment in your workplace
- adapting equipment to make it easier for you to use
- money towards any extra travel costs to and from work if you can’t use available public transport, or if you need help to adapt your vehicle
- an interpreter or other support at a job interview if you have difficulty communicating
- other practical help at work, such as a job coach or a note-taker or lip speaker
It will also fund Deaf Awareness Training for the team – so that colleagues can clearly understand how to work alongside and communicate with a deaf person. This really helps in creating an inclusive workplace.
Please take a look at the Deaf Awareness Training that we provide: Deaf Awareness Training
Access to Work Eligibility
As with every Government fund – there are eligibility criteria:
- are normally resident in, and working in, Great Britain
- have a disability or long-term health condition that means you need aid, adaptation, or financial or human support to do your job (the long term means lasting or likely to last for at least 12 months)
- have a mental health condition and need support at work
- are aged 16 or over
You must also:
- already be doing paid work
- be about to start work or become self-employed
- have an interview for a job
- be about to begin a work trial or start work experience under the Youth Contract arranged through Jobcentre Plus
An Access to Work assessor will visit the deaf person in their workplace or over video.
They will conduct an assessment, looking at the tasks and activities and precisely the occasions that the deaf person needs to communicate to fulfil their role.
Access to Work will fund communication support for a deaf person to access the interview process.
Deaf people communicate differently, and there is a range of Communication Professionals to suit these individual needs.
We recommend that you first find out the applicant’s preferred method of communication.
If a deaf person uses British Sign Language as their first or preferred language, you would require a British Sign Language Interpreter.
If they prefer lipreading – a Lipspeaker or potentially an Electronic Notetaker or Speech To Text Reporter.
Never assume – always ask the deaf person which would be the most suitable option for them.
Click here to read one of our articles that talks about How to Interview a deaf person – How to interview a deaf person
Day to Day work
What you learn at work is often done so incidentally. When you are responding to an email, and you overhear a conversation and those proverbial ‘water cooler’ chats.
A deaf person misses many of these ad hoc conversations that lead to more significant learning about the business, projects being worked on, and even office politics.
This is where Communication Professionals come into play.
For the more formal parts of work, meetings, supervisions, training, etc, and then the ad hoc work communication.
Here is an article discussing what it is like for a deaf employee working from home. Deaf employee working from home
There is an active community-led working group called DeafATW – Deaf AtW – set up to help deaf people complain to the Government and better campaign about Access to Work.
DeafATW is also now a part of two groups working to help Access to Work improve: The ATW Stakeholder Forum and the ATW Easements Working Group.
Click here to apply for Access to Work.