The Access to Work grant lets neurodivergent staff secure government-funded support to carry out their work. Anyone with a physical or mental health condition or disability, who needs support to do their job or get to their workplace, is eligible to apply.
Applicants should be in work, about to start work, or planning to return to work. They should be over 16 and based in England, Scotland, or Wales. If so, they can receive up to £66,000 from the Access to Work grant. Funding also offers workplace leaders an opportunity to increase the number of people with disabilities in their workforce.
To highlight some specific ways this funding can help, we’ll share a list of ways an Access to Work grant could support you or your employees.
Why it’s worth Applying for an Access to Work grant
The Access to Work grant is government funding. It gives eligible staff a chance to get into work and stay in paid employment. But, along with boosting motivation, productivity, and retention for these staff members, an Access to Work grant also helps employers create better working environments and increase rates of diversity and inclusion.
According to the gov.uk website, over 40% of people with disabilities weren’t in work or were looking for work in the UK in September 2022. But applying for support through an Access to Work grant can make a big difference in narrowing this gap. It also benefits both sides, since employers benefit from the skills and experiences of people with disabilities while more inclusive environments allow neurodivergent individuals to flourish in their roles.
Different ways to Benefit from an Access to Work grant
Here are the key ways an Access to Work grant can help businesses and neurodivergent individuals:
1. Training and Assistive Technology to Improve Accessibility
The Access to Work grant can fund assistive technology like – Caption.Ed (captioning and notetaking tool) and TalkType (dictation software for Windows, Mac and mobile), but it can also fund the delivery of human-focused training.
The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) suggests 70-80% of disabilities are invisible. But using Assistive Technology and regular training can promote a safer, more welcoming, and open environment for people with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD). By deploying better training and support through Assistive Technology and training, employers can also position their firm as diverse and inclusive and improve their employer branding.
2. Better Resilience through the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service
Access to Work runs a specific Mental Health Support Service for those who apply. The service works through several third-party providers and gives consistent support to companies that secure it. One example of a delivery provider is Able Futures. They supported mental health at the food company Sodexo, helping to reduce rates of illness and absence from mental health.
By supporting staff with issues such as anxiety, low mood, resilience, and sleep, Able Futures helped to destigmatise mental health in the workplace. They provided direct support services tailored to each individual, without the need for any referral.
3. Employment Support Workers, Mentors, or Job Coaches
Access to Work can provide targeted support to neurodivergent and disabled individuals when they’re starting new roles. This can take the form of support workers or job coaches.
AtW funding can also support business leaders and entrepreneurs with one-to-one support where they need it. For instance, Elizabeth is the founder of a social enterprise and is dyslexic.
“I need a one-to-one employment support worker who can help me with what I struggle with, which is writing, reading and communication. I know what I want to say but I can’t get it on to paper. It’s a real frustration.”
4. Interpreters to Bridge Interview Gaps
Anyone who needs communication support during a job interview can apply to Access to Work for help. Access to Work can fund the following support workers, where eligible:
- Communication support workers
- BSL interpreters or Deafblind interpreters
- Lip speakers
5. Funded Transport to get to Work or Meetings
People with disabilities who have difficulties using public transport can use the Access to Work grant to fund a package of support that helps them get to work. This can be at the office, remotely, or to get to client or customer meetings.
In practice, this may look like a taxi to and from the office or a bespoke form of transport that meets the specific needs of the individual.
6. Special Equipment like Powered Wheelchairs and Scooters
People with mobility problems may need powered wheelchairs or scooters to carry out their roles. The good news is that Access to Work can support them through their bespoke ‘Access to Mobility Grant Funding’ scheme.
7. Better Environments through Disability Awareness Training
With higher rates of Gen Z employees entering the workforce–who have greater rates of diversity than previous generations–employers should be proactive in creating safe and welcoming environments. An Access to Work grant can support the creation of a safer environment in the form of disability awareness training for all staff.
Awareness training covers disabilities, neurodiversity, and mental health conditions. But it can also feature ways to make improvements to HR practice and how you can drive more diversity-aware levels of customer service.
Not only do better aware and more proactive environments support neurodiverse individuals to flourish but they also drive improvements in employer branding and staff retention. And this results in positive outcomes – both for neurodiverse individuals and their employers.
Talk to Us About Applying for an Access to Work Grant
The Access to Work grant is an valuable opportunity that shouldn’t be overlooked. It offers a diverse range of support services and a healthy package of financial support for eligible applicants. And this is all as part of the government’s efforts to get more people with disabilities and neurodivergence into paid employment.
CareScribe’s mission is to make the world more accessible. And we do that through two AI-powered Assistive Technology tools: Caption.Ed, our captioning and note-taking software, and TalkType, our dictation tool. And we’re proud to offer our software through the AtW scheme.
Discover how our AI-powered tools can support better inclusivity in your workforce through Access to Work and talk to our team. We’re always happy to offer advice on what our tool can do and how best to make an application.