UK Trade & Investment and The British Assistive Technology Association (BATA) join forces to help members drive up sales and to help make every child a communicator
"In this time of austerity, buoyant export markets are presenting UK education businesses, particularly those involved in the development of assistive technology, with significant business opportunities", said Martin Littler, Chair of BATA, The British Assistive Technology Association at the BATA Export Seminar, held recently at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) in Westminster, London. Assistive Technology is widely viewed as any product or service designed to enable independence for disabled or older people.
Mr Littler was joined by Richard Parry, Head of Education & Skills Sector Team, UK Trade & Investment, Graham Snape, International Trade Sector Adviser for Education & Training UKTI South East and Les Plant, International Trade Sector Adviser for Life Sciences, UKTI South East. The team provided BATA Members with a detailed overview of those countries with strong growing economies such as Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRIC countries) and emerging markets such as Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and The Gulf States. Advice and guidance on exporting to these markets was provided along with information on the revenue opportunities open to British businesses. Former special needs teacher and CEO of Crick Software, John Crick, followed UKTI and provided delegates with an insight into his company's significant success in the US, Australia and New Zealand, which currently accounts for 30% of its annual revenue.
Keynote speaker, Lorraine Petersen (OBE) CEO of Nasen, the leading UK association for special educational needs, led on UNESCO's Salamanca Statement in which 92 governments and 25 international organisations agreed a dynamic new statement on the education of all disabled children, which called for inclusion to be the norm. She stressed the importance of educating parents about the access technologies which can help their child communicate and so learn - including for example, hardware devices that provide an alternative to mouse or keyboard input and software to support reading, writing communication and cognition.
"Parents don't know what they don't know", she said - it's our responsibility to help every child communicate and learn. "It's not just children who need this help", she concluded, "our country's growing population of over 60s need us to help them to remain independent for their own personal well being and the need to reduce state expenditure on social care."
The British Assistive Technology Association believes every human being should have the right to communicate, a right that enables them to learn using assistive technology and so maintain a level of independence. The organisation is committed to providing expert and impartial support and advice to government departments and agencies. It is also dedicated to British Assistive Technology products and expertise at home and overseas.