For the last few months a disabled friend of mine, Dave Crowl, has been sending me emails with 0s in place of Os. I didn’t give it much thought until I spoke with Dave about it: the letter o on his keyboard has given up. Dave, a charity fundraiser, who has cerebral palsy, has learned to adapt. With his keyboard out of production, he ploughs on with his existing kit:
H0pe u are all well! Fancy a pint and the f00ty 0n Friday night? We c0uld meet in a b00zer in the h00d 0r in t0wn?
Does this affect his ability to communicate? Well no – not with me but would I be as accommodating if the emails were about something other than beer and football? Probably not. I think most people would agree that the need for professional IT and digital skills – and the appropriate kit – are more important than ever for workers today.
Charities like U Can Do IT provide hundreds of disabled people with IT training enabling them to get into the workplace and Stoll (a client) offers a similar service aimed specifically at disabled Veterans with great results, including getting Veterans into civilian jobs.
These schemes and others like them are vital if the government’s benefits cap, which comes into force this week, has the effect of shifting more people into work. Given the news on the state of personal finances (see BBC), this is going to be anything but easy. Most of us will be able to ride out the inflationary pressures of a falling pound. But higher costs coupled with reductions in benefits will be a bitter pill to swallow for many people on benefits.
In the meantime Dave is looking for work. So if you receive a CV with a surprising number of zeros sprawled across it, you will understand why.
James Ford, Partner, Barley Communications