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IT industries key to reducing Suffolk disabled employment gap, says Ipswich DAB

PUBLISHED: 17:58 03 June 2018

Ipswich Disabled Advice Bureau has helped adults into work Picture: GREGG BROWN

Ipswich Disabled Advice Bureau has helped adults into work Picture: GREGG BROWN

An Ipswich charity which supports those with disabilities has said that the closure of light manufacturing jobs and difficulties in working from home opportunities are behind the disability employment gap in Suffolk.

Pat Ramsey from Ipswich Disabled Advice Bureau said the IT industry could be the key to reducing the employment gap Picture: GREGG BROWNPat Ramsey from Ipswich Disabled Advice Bureau said the IT industry could be the key to reducing the employment gap Picture: GREGG BROWN

Suffolk County Council last week confirmed that a bid for £4million European Social Fund cash had been submitted, with the express aim of supporting more than 3,000 adults into work and reduce the disability employment gap.

Ipswich Disabled Advice Bureau is working to help support those adults, but said two key industries were particularly problematic.

Pat Ramsey, bureau manager, said: “The closure of light manufacturing industries in the Ipswich area has significantly frustrated people with disabilities when finding work.

“This was identified as being because many process information more slowly, which can be due to their disability or health problem, medication that they are taking, chronic pain or fatigue that they or coping with.”

Ms Ramsey added that working from home opportunities gave flexibility to disabled adults and took away the need to get to work, but said: “The option of being self-employed is not popular with people with disabilities as they would have to cope with PAYE and the new state pension.”

Figures from the Equality and Human Rights Commission last year said that nationally less than half of all disabled adults were in employment, compared to the 80% employment figure for those without disabilities.

To help tackle the problem, Ipswich DAB has set up an internet cafe and courses to deliver digital training, which could “provide a platform for people with disabilities to fill the many thousands of vacancies that will arise in the IT industry over the next five or so years.”

In December 2017 it was formally accredited by the British Computer Society for its training.

Ms Ramsey said: “Salaries in the IT industry are usually above the average meaning that people with disabilities, many of whom can only work part-time hours, could have a reasonable income and be independent of means tested benefits.”

She added that it would help work “around the number of medical appointments that many people with disabilities have to attend with their GP at hospitals.”

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