Arts Council England

Digital guide for DWP employment programme launched by Arts Council and Disability Arts Online

Article: David Styles | Image: © Les Parkinson

Arts Council England and Disability Arts Online have published a digital guide designed to assist people living with disabilities in making the most of the Department for Work and Pensions’ Access to Work employment support programme.

The Access to Work programme has been established to remove the barriers faced by disabled people in undertaking paid employment. This takes the form of offering various grants to support the financing of any necessary equipment, travel or assistance from support workers.

The new supplementary guide from Arts Council and Disability Arts Online, which has been made available in various accessible formats including easy read and audio-only, clarifies the Access to Work process and provides specific advice for the arts and cultural sector. Each section of the guide also offers a video version of the information, which includes British Sign Language and optional captions.

“Our latest diversity data shows that the number of disabled people working at arts and cultural organisations remains frustratingly low, and we want to accelerate the rate of change to increase that number,” explained Abid Hussain, director of diversity at Arts Council England.

“This guide,” he continued, “which was developed in collaboration with the sector and shares insights from people who have applied to Access to Work, is part of those efforts. I hope it will support more disabled arts and cultural workers, and their employers, to navigate and make use of Access to Work and help make our sector more accessible for everyone.”

In recognition of the wide-ranging working arrangements across the sector, the guide is divided into three sections: for self-employed workers; employees (or prospective employees); and employers.

Trish Wheatley, CEO of Disability Arts Online, stated: “With the publication of this guide, it’s our ambition that more disabled people will pursue careers in the arts and culture sector. We hope that this guide will also empower organisations to be more confident in recruiting disabled people.”