'In The Making’ Connected Communities Project – Employer Perceptions
In 2016 the University of Salford led an AHRC-funded project, “In the Making” to explore how digital fabrication technologies could empower disabled people to participate more fully in education and employment. This project offered a short course allowing participants to gain training in 3D printing technology. The technology was explored as an avenue through which participants could be creative, and design solutions for their own specific problems. An external evaluation of the project was undertaken, focusing on participant experiences, with the analysis compiled as a report. The findings from this pilot project were very positive, with the evaluation identifying the benefits gained by participants and providing constructive suggestions regarding the way forward. The most important messages to emerge were that participants wanted an opportunity to engage in a more formal programme of training, and a chance to develop expertise through work experience. This policy report engages directly with employers who utilise digital fabrication technologies. The aim was to gain an understanding of their perceptions of disabled people as potential employees. This was achieved by carrying out a series of in-depth interviews. The interviews explored the feasibility of offering a rigorous and structured training programme for disabled people who wish to work in digital design, along with a critical appraisal of any potential benefits, barriers and issues. This report provides a detailed analysis of the evidence generated from these interviews.