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BCS helps people with disabilities boost IT skills

The British Computer Society is trialling a new testing system, which makes it easier for people with visual or hearing impairment to sit their European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL).

The British Computer Society (BCS) is trying to make it easier for people with disabilities to take tech qualifications to help boost their IT skills and job prospects.

Citing an Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey, the BCS said people with disabilities are twice as likely as others to lack qualifications of any sort. To help battle this, the BCS has created the multi accessible test system (MATS) to help disabled people sit tests such as the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL), which is taken by professionals in a variety of sectors to prove their IT skills to future employers.

Currently in the pilot phase, MATS was designed for hearing-impaired British Sign Language users, letting them take the ECDL test in a text-only format or using video clips of sign language interpretation. It also offers a narrated version.

Developed using Dolphin Computer Access' EasyConverter software, the multi format tests aren't just suitable for deaf people, but those with sight problems and learning difficulties such as dyslexia, the BCS said. The software suite will also let the BCS create test materials in large print, Braille and audio to assist more people.

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