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Dyslexia@Work an Erasmus Project

This is an Erasmus+ KA2 project (no. 2019-1-IT01-KA202-007433)

The British Dyslexia Association was proud to work alongside the European Dyslexia Association and Associazione Italiana Dislessia of Italy, Dyslexia Association of Ireland, Fédération Française Des DYS of France, Malta Dyslexia Association and Università Dell’Insubria of Italy on this project to increase work prospects for dyslexic people.

The goal was to identify good dyslexia awareness practice amongst recruiters and employers to enable other organisations to emulate this good practice.

Each project partner has researched and gathered information from their countries to compile a comparative analysis. In particular, we have examined legislation which protects dyslexia and work. We have also looked at the fairness of the interview process and whether or not reasonable adjustments are offered in the workplace, and whether there is a ‘levelling of playing field’ for achieving professional qualifications.

The final meeting for the Erasmus funded Dyslexia@Work project took place in Dublin, Ireland. This has been important research for the British Dyslexia Association to have been involved in and as it draws to a close it is worth highlighting the key learnings that have emerged for the UK.

What we have learnt

1. The UK is well placed to play a lead role in advising on workplace dyslexia awareness and inclusion practice in Europe

  • Here in the UK, employees with dyslexia have legal rights to reasonable adjustments via the Equality Act (2010). Whilst there is still a very long way to go to ensure that all workplaces are dyslexia-friendly, the UK at least has a legislative foundation on which to engage with employers about their responsibilities. This is not the case across Europe.
  • Due to these protections in law, here at the British Dyslexia Association we have been able to raise awareness with employers and share best practice for inclusion. We have offered expert information and support to employers for many years and answer hundreds of calls to our Helpline each month.
  • In addition, we provide bespoke guidance and training to employers so that they can confidently tailor solutions to the specific needs of their organisation. We are the first point of call for managers, business leaders and HR professionals who know they need to make changes but don’t know what they might be or how to implement them.
  • Our 2018 Report outlined the business case for adapting the workplace for dyslexic and other neurodiverse employees and included multiple real-world studies to showcase how this can be done in practical terms.
  • We have been proud to be able to showcase best practice in the workplace through our SMART Award.

2. Collaborative research is essential

This project was particularly valuable because it provided such a rich learning environment for all European partner organisations and individuals involved. Colleagues came together from different backgrounds and perspectives. This diversity could only enhance the sharing of expertise, the exploring of new ideas and the inevitable debating of solutions.

In addition, not only could a group of partners tackle a research question that individually they could not, but they can disseminate the findings of that research far more widely to a much larger audience.

Such partnership therefore stimulates learning on an altogether greater scale.

3. Ongoing research in this field is vital

This project provides an excellent comparative analysis of approaches to support adults with dyslexia in the workplace employment across Europe. It has resulted in the publication of highly practical guidebooks in multiple languages which will provide valuable and much needed support to employers.

However, this project also highlights the need for ongoing research and development in this field.

  • Workplaces come in any number of shapes and forms. They are highly complex environments where individuals interact in multiple ways within systems and structures to deliver organisational outputs. They have cultures, processes and procedures which an individual employee must learn to navigate from their own experience and cultural perspective in order to reach their full working potential.
  • Added to this, each employee’s experience of dyslexia is unique. Dyslexia is a life-long condition which can range from mild to severe and which can co-occur with other learning difficulties.

Such broad diversity across workplaces and individuals means that multiple, varied and nuanced practical solutions for employers should be available to support a dyslexic workforce. More research is needed to ensure that every employee has the opportunity to reach their full potential at work.

The British Dyslexia Association looks forward to continuing to collaborate with others to maximise the breadth and depth of research into dyslexia.

Contact us to learn more about supporting employees with dyslexia in your organisation.