15 Sep 2023
by Geraint Williams

Fujitsu: Bridging The Digital Skills Gap - Assistive Technology and Curated Workplaces #techUKSmarterState

Guest blog by Geraint Williams, Head of DX Hub at Fujitsu, as part of Building the Smarter State week. #techUK

In today's fast-paced world, diversity, equity and inclusion have become integral elements of a progressive society. It is not merely a moral obligation but also a strategic advantage for organisations to harness the unique talents of individuals from all walks of life, including those with disabilities and neurodiverse conditions. Assistive Technology (AT) has emerged as a game-changer in this regard, offering innovative solutions to create more inclusive workplaces.  

The potential benefits have been somewhat highlighted by the pandemic, with some individuals experiencing unexpected positives, where working from home has provided them with the opportunity to create more accommodating and comfortable work environments. This has proved an accelerator for accessibility and inclusivity across the UK workforce. 

This blog explores how AT and Curative Workplaces continue to play a key role in unlocking otherwise untapped talent and, in turn advancing the cause of a more inclusive work environment. 

Social, Legislative and Economic Factors Driving Use of Assistive Technology 

AT has evolved significantly over recent years, adapting to the changing needs and expectations of users. It has also benefited from the integration of Artificial Intelligence driven solutions, development of IoT and Smart Devices, advancement in Wearable AT and focus on User Centric Design. We are also witnessing AT features built in as standard to product releases such as captioning, dictation and sign language spotlighting. To understand the impact of AT better, let's look at some of the key driving factors: 

  1. Global Prevalence of Disabilities: According to the World Health Organisation, over one billion people worldwide live with some form of disability, making up about 15% of the global population. 

  1. Employment Rates for People with Disabilities: The employment rate for people with disabilities is consistently lower than for those without. AT and good workplace design can help bridge this gap by enabling individuals to perform their job tasks effectively. 

  1. Economic Benefits: A report by the International Labour Organisation estimates that increasing the employment of people with disabilities could boost the global economy by up to 7%.  

  1. Legal Frameworks: Many countries have enacted legislation to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace. These legal frameworks emphasise the importance of reasonable adjustment. 

  1. Innovation and Research: The AT industry is continually evolving, with ongoing research and innovation. Investments in this sector are expected to grow exponentially, driving ever more advanced and effective solutions. 

The Emergence of Curated Workplaces 

With the global pandemic driving a shift in how we work, employers are increasingly focusing on curating workspaces that are accessible, suiting the individual needs and preferences of their employees. With an aim to create a more productive, creative, and inclusive work environment, curated workspaces are providing elements such as more natural light, acoustic screening, plants, art, ergonomic and accessible furniture and personalised accessories.  

The result of this is a work environment that not only reflects the organisations culture and values but also the diverse nature of its staff. Being beneficial to the wellbeing and performance of its employees, it is hoped that by creating welcoming, individual and accessible spaces, more workers will see the office as a place where they can excel. 
The convergence of AT and curated workplaces has the potential to create more opportunities for people with disabilities and neurodiverse conditions in the labour market. By combining the benefits of both approaches, these workers can access the tools and personalised workplace settings that best suit their needs, enabling opportunities for them to perform at their true potential.  

Unlocking Unique Talents through Personalised Working Environments 

Now, let's focus on how AT and Curated Workplaces help to unlock un-tapped talent. 

  1. Improved Accessibility: Enhancing accessibility in the workplace, ensuring that all employees can access digital tools, information, and physical spaces. This level playing field allows individuals to showcase their talents without barriers. 

  1. Enhanced Productivity: Adopting technology that is inherently flexibly enough to suit all user needs, boosts individual productivity and allows users to focus on their personal strengths. 

  1. Inclusive Communication: Communication is a fundamental aspect of any workplace, enabling all individuals to have their voices heard, and their ideas surfaced to contribute to the organisation's success. 

  1. Fostering Creativity: Diversity of thought is a catalyst for innovation. Providing a platform for employees to bring their unique perspectives to the table. This can lead to creative problem-solving and the development of innovative ideas and products. 


Inclusion of individuals with disabilities and neurodiverse conditions benefit’s organisations by bringing unique skills and perspectives that help to foster innovation, generate creative problem-solving, and drive enhanced empathy within the workplace. By creating an inclusive culture, providing necessary support, and recognising the strengths of disabled and neurodiverse individuals, organisations not only address accessibility but can also increase employee satisfaction, improve retention, and ensure long-term growth and success. 

As technology advances and workplaces evolve, more opportunities will emerge for workers with disabilities and neurodiverse conditions to participate in the economy and society. Combining both has the potential to revolutionise the way we work and interact with our surroundings. It's not just a matter of compliance with legal requirements; it's about recognizing the immense value that these individuals bring to the table and providing them with the tools they need to shine. As we move forward, the continued development of AT seamlessly integrated into on-site and remote working environments will be a driving force behind a successful, more equitable and inclusive society. 

Finally, to take full advantage of AT and Curated Workspace its crucial to have a framework for workplace assessments, driven by accessibility professionals, ensuring a proper understanding of individuals complex needs and completed mutually with them, to ensure the right consensual adoption of this powerful technology.

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Geraint Williams is Head of DX Hub at Fujitsu.

From 11 – 15 September techUK is running our annual Building the Smarter State Week in the run-up to the ninth edition of our flagship public services conference, Building the Smarter State, on Wednesday 27 September. Book your tickets here.


Geraint Williams

Head of DX Hub, Fujitsu