Testimonial: John Harding, University of Cambridge

John Harding, University of Cambridge

Head of the Disability Resource Centre

The University of Cambridge’s Disability Resource Centre ran a pilot programme with Diversity an Ability in the 2016/17 academic year for the Assistive Technology training for international disabled students who had been awarded software via Cambridge’s International Disabled Students’ Fund. We were impressed by the feedback we had had from students who had been supported by them in the previous years, and by their model, particularly the fact that the majority of trainers are ex-disabled students who have been through the DSAs process themselves, so they know the ropes; they can empathise.

We have also been impressed by the focus on quality, on ensuring students are helped to build effective and sustainable strategies, and by the learning plans which allow other support workers (such as study skills tutors and mentors), as well as disability advisers, to have an understanding of how the students they support are using their assistive technology. It’s all very joined up; very impressive. The feedback from the evaluation we have run with students who have been part of the pilot has been highly positive. We have also had very positive feedback from disability advisers and support staff, who D&A ran training sessions for.

This would be my definition of ‘value for money’. They are not the cheapest, but you get what you pay for. Value for money has to be about quality and sustainability, not just about costs. It has to work. This does. I would strongly recommend them. We have also had very positive feedback from those DSAs funded home students who have been allocated support from D&A. I just wish it could be provided by D&A for all of them.

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