About the practice
Where: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Start date: 2017
Beneficiaries: People with mental, physical or psychological disabilities
Funded by: pilots are funded by different stakeholders depending on where the pilots take place
OVERVIEW OF THE PRACTICE
The KIT is a platform in the field of inclusive technology that was founded in 2017. It is a partnership between TNO (The Dutch organization for applied scientific Research), Cedris (the national association for an inclusive labour market and sheltered workshops) and SBCM (the center of knowledge and funds for social employment). The objective of KIT is to help as many people with mental, physical or psychological disabilities as possible to find and keep suitable and sustainable job by using technology in the broadest sense of the word.
To test inclusive technology in the workplace, multiple pilots have been developed so far with approximately 20 participants in each of them. However, the group of people potentially benefitting from the innovation tested in the pilot can be bigger.
THE METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH
The KIT connects stakeholders and serves as a catalyst to initiate, supervise and evaluate research and experiments and share this knowledge with other sectors. The following ones are examples of some of the pilots that have been carried out so far:
- Cobots at UW Utrecht: In this pilot, the KIT investigated whether the production of solar panels at the sheltered workshop UW Utrecht could be made less labour intensive with the use of technology. In this case, it was examined whether a collaborative robot (cobot) could take over repetitive tasks since this often places a great deal of physical strain on workers.
- Smart beamer at Amfors: In the pilot at Amfors, the Operator Support System (OSS) was tested to assist step by step through the assembly system employees with cognitive disabilities. The system projects the work instructions onto the workplace via a smart beamer. As a result, workers know exactly what to do and in which order.
- Operator Support System at Senzer: workers with support needs In the pilot the OSS, a technology supporting employees in performing assembly tasks was tested. Work instructions were projected onto the workplace in the right order and time. Tailored to the work and the needs of the worker, the OSS can provide feedback in case of incorrect actions and is equipped with a pick-to-light module (a system assisting working to pick items accurately).
- Smart beamer at Inclusief Groep: In this pilot, a Smart beamer is tested. Employees are actively supported by a smart projection system through all production steps. The beamer indicates with arrows and/or images which action the workers has to take and which tools or material are needed. With the use of the beamer one worker can successively carry out multiple steps at once. The beamer is also programmed to check the quality and quantity of the products.
In the individual pilots, the needs of each worker are evaluated so that the technology can be tailored on the basis of this assessment.
TYPE OF SKILLS DEVELOPED
Workers benefitting from this practice are able to develop skills in the technological field which help them to find more and more suitable job opportunities.
THE INNOVATIVE ASPECT
The pilots from KIT can be considered particularly innovative because they support the development of skills by means of digitalization and technology.
IMPACT & SUSTAINABILITY
The practice has a direct impact on the employability of workers with support needs, who increase their confidence and independence at work. The different pilots presented different results regarding the development of the skills. For instance, the Amfors pilot showed that employees using OSS can handle more and more complex tasks with less personal guidance than employees not using OSS. At UW Utrecht, the pilot revealed that the participants became more involved at the workplace and started to think about how their workplace could be improved.
To guarantee the sustainability of the practice, the current government and the UWV are conducting a trail in which companies can apply for subsidies for innovative improvements.