Disability Awareness Training
Many disabled people, including their families and friends, are potential customers of the Tourism industry. They would like to enjoy such activites as travel, museums, heritage sites etc. etc. but they are unable to do so due to the lack of access they have to the facilities and services.
Disability awareness training is designed to increase the understanding of disability and access issues. Training should be ongoing and delivered to all staff. The level of training should be dependent upon the role of the employee within the organisation.
Staff that interact with visitors should be provided with full disability awareness training. Whereas staff that do not interact with visitors should be provided with basic disability awareness training.
Training courses should include sessions on specific disability groups, i.e. hearing or visual impairments, as well as general awareness. During new staff inductions, disability awareness should be emphasized.
Areas to be highlighted include recognising and understanding the uses of different types of assistance dogs, i.e. guide dogs, hearing dogs, emergency/seizure alert dogs and mobility dogs.
Also, where particular technical equipment, i.e. induction loops, evacuation chairs, etc., are installed, staff must be fully trained in their use.
Tourism and the Disability Discrimination Act
Any service provider who provides a service to the public in the UK, whether they charge for it or not, has duties under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).
Service providers' responsibilities
Service providers include holiday accommodation, tourist attractions, restaurants and transport providers. They cannot refuse to serve a disabled person or provide a lower standard of service because of their disability unless it can be justified.
Service providers may need to make 'reasonable adjustments' to any barriers that may prevent a disabled person using or accessing their service.
What is a reasonable adjustment?
Under the DDA, service providers only need to make changes that are 'reasonable'.
It's about what is practical to the service provider's individual situation and what resources they may have. They will not be required to make changes that are impractical or beyond their means.
An example of a reasonable change is sending staff on a disability awareness training course to increase awareness of common disability related issues.
There are many disability awareness training courses available. For example, the RNIB offers programmes on:
- Disability Discrimination Act training - staff will learn how this piece of legislation will affect their organisation and how it's service complies with the Act
- Disability awareness, customer care and staff training - staff will learn to improve their knowledge of disability issues, improve their communication skills and learn techniques to assist customers with a disability
- Access visits - ensure the building is accessible to disabled customers; advice on signage, accessibile information and colour contrasting
- Technology and products - staff will learn about the latest technology and products that will help them help their customers from talking signs to tactile maps, audio description and audio guides
- Marketing and promotion - staff will be given advice on where and how to promote their service, creat an accessible website and produce accessible information
The above information was collected from the following sources:
- DIADA Group (2007) Developing and introducing a new training approach in the tourism sector. [accessed 19/10/07].
- National Disability Authority (2002) Building for Everyone. [accessed 16/10/07].
- People 1st (2007) Raising the Bar. [accessed 03/01/08].
- RNID (n.d.) Deaf and disability awareness training. [accessed 19/10/07].
- VisitBritain (2004) National Accessible Scheme. [accessed 16/10/07].
- BSI (2008) PAS 88:2008 Guidance on accessibility of large hotel premises and hotel chains. [accessed 15/08/08].
- Barker, P. Barrick, J. & Wilson, R. (1995) Building Sight - How the needs of blind and partially sighted people can be met in the design of buildings and the environment. London: RNIB. [accessed 16/10/07].
- Bright, K. Flanagan, S. Embleton, J. Selbekk, L. & Cook, G. (2004) Buildings for all to use - improving the accessibility of public buildings and environments. London: CIRIA. [accessed 16/10/07].
- Casserley, C. (2000) Tourism and the DDA: your guide to understanding the Disability Discrimination Act. London: RNIB.
- Centre for Accessible Environments (2005) Specifiers' Handbooks for Inclusive Design Series. [accessed 08/10/07].
- Communities and Local Governement (2003) Planning and access for disabled people: a good practice guide. [accessed 16/10/07].
- Department for Transport (2005) Inclusive Mobility. [accessed 16/10/07].
- ECA - European Concept for Accessibility. [accessed 16/10/07].
- EuCAN (European Concept for Accessibility Network) (2003) The European Concept For Accessibility. [accessed 16/10/07].
- Equality and Human Rights Commission (2001) FOCUS 7: Creating an Inclusive Environment.
- Equality and Human Rights Commission (2004) Making access to goods and services easier for disabled customers - A practical guide for small businesses and other small service providers. [accessed 24/10/07].
- Equality and Human Rights Commission (2005) The Duty to Promote Disability Equality - Statutory Code of Practice.
- Equality and Human Rights Commission (2006) Code of Practice - Rights of Access: services to the public, public authority functions, private clubs and premises. [accessed 16/10/07].
- Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (2007 ) The good, the bad and the ugly – design and construction for access. [accessed 16/10/07].
- JMU Access Partnership (n.d.) Buildings and Internal Environments. London: RNIB.
- Merseytravel (2006) Code of Practice on Access and Mobility. [accessed 16/10/07].
- National Council for the Blind of Ireland (2005) Guidelines for Accessibility of the Built Environment. [accessed 25/10/07].
- North Carolina Office on Disability and Health (2005) Removing Barriers to Health Clubs and Fitness Facilities: A Guide for Accommodating All Members, Including People with Disabilities and Older Adults (PDF). [accessed 01/07/09].
- RNIB (2000) Welcoming your visually impaired customers, leisure industry pack. [accessed 16/10/07].
- RNIB (2003) The Talking Images Guide - Museums, galleries and heritage sites: improving access for blind and partially sighted people.
- Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities [n.d.] Accessibility for the Disabled - A Design Manual for a Barrier Free Environment. [accessed 16/10/07].
- Sport England (2002) Access for Disabled People. [accessed 16/10/07].
Last updated: 20.11.2009 © Copyright reserved Website design: Digital Accessibility Team