STEMM-DAC Conference 2016
Future Directions in STEMM for People with Disabilities
Date: 17 March 2016
Location: Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG
This conference will bring together employers, education support workers, service providers and others involved in the transition of disabled people within education, and between education and the world of work or apprenticeship. It aims to increase understanding and awareness of good practice, advice and information to manage transitions and the progression of disabled people in STEMM. Through dialogue and opportunities to share good practice, the STEMM DAC aims to better understand the role it can play in complementing work currently underway.
The conference programme will include a panel session, breakout groups and speakers with the aim of sharing good practice into what currently exists to support transitions. The conference will conclude with a networking session giving delegates an opportunity to make contacts to further develop their work in this area.
Delegates who attend will be given the tools and opportunity to develop plans to further enhance the support they provide and provide feedback to STEMM DAC on what else needs to happen to become more effective in this vital area.
10.00 Arrival, registration and refreshments
10.30 Welcome address
Martin Hollins, Chair of the STEMM Disability Advisory Committee
10.35 Introductory speaker
Philip Connolly, Policy Development Manager, Disability Rights UK
10.45 Panel introductions
11.15 Workshop 1 – What information/resources do we have already?
12.00 Refreshment break
12.15 Report back 1
13.00 Networking lunch
14.00 Workshop 2 – Which of these groups will be able to provide missing resources:
• STEMM Disability Advisory Committee
• Learned Societies
14.45 Refreshment break
15.00 Report back 2
15.45 Closing remarks
16.00 Networking drinks reception
Supporting transitions into education and employment for people with disabilities
A report published by the Resolution Foundation1 brought home to me the pressing need for action on the employment of people with disabilities. The Resolution Foundation’s analysis showed that:
- Over half of all workless households (54 per cent) contain at least one disabled adult.
- The employment gap between individuals with a disability and those without is 33 percentage points wide (46 per cent to 79 per cent).
The authors conclude:
“With the government committed to reducing the number of workless households and aiming for full employment there is a need for a new approach to supporting disabled people into work …. a rethink is required to more fundamentally reassess both the offer from the state and the role of employers in supporting people to move into work and helping them remain in work.”
The report acknowledges that supporting people with disabilities into and back into work is a complex issue. Factors such as the nature of the disability, the educational and personal circumstances of the individual will impact on the degree and nature of support required, and on the work opportunities available to the individual.
My experience as governor of a school and college for severely autistic students, bears this out. Timekeeping, communication, and relationship building can be particular challenges, in addition to the specific skills and understanding needed for the job. For our final year students, I have found that work experience provides a particularly valuable opportunity to help young people familiarise them with the demands of work.
Future directions in STEMM
As Chair of the STEMM Disability Advisory Committee, I am excited that the upcoming conference on ‘Future Directions in STEMM for People with Disabilities’ will explore the diversity of needs for people with disabilities as they move through the education system and into the workplace.
The conference will bring together employers, education support workers, service providers and others involved in the transition of disabled people within education, and between education and the world of work, to increase understanding and awareness, share advice and information, and share good practice. We also hope that the conference will help STEMM DAC better identify ways in which science organisations and professional bodies can complement some of the great work currently underway.
Martin Hollins is Chair of the STEMM Disability Advisory Committee
1. Paul Gregg & David Finch: Employing new tactics: the changing distribution of work across British households