I’ve been asked to contact a delegate who is attending one of our training courses this year to ensure that I can accommodate his requirements. “Yes, I’ll do that”, I replied gladly. But I thought the first thing I should do is to just remind myself of any issues that I should be aware of prior to the email. I like to run very interactive courses and want them to be fun and accessible to everyone but (and this is a BIG but) because disability is not in my daily list of considerations I am(please excuse the pun) blind to the needs of the normal people who I come into contact with who have disabilities, impairments, considerations, challenges, issues etc (you might guess that I’m even struggling with the correct words to use to describe this). What’s even more frustrating for me is that fact that I have a brother who has a severe learning disability so I should be one of those who are more aware. I confess – I am not.
Begs the question: how much do we know about disability? How many people in the UK suffer from the following? The answers to the following are at the end of this blog but please refrain from scrolling to the end before you’ve finished reading the whole piece. Especially those who suffer from Skimmers syndrome (people who don’t read everything and like to skim) Thank you.
- How many adults in the UK of working age suffer from a disability?
- How many people with disabilities are unemployed and are willing and able to work?
- A 10% raise in the employment rate amongst disabled adults would contribute how much to the Exchequer by 2030?
Surprising eh? So it begs the question – what are you going to do about disability awareness? Before reading any further get yourself a pen and pencil and write down 3 things that you are going to do to increase access to your premises, products or services. Share this knowledge with a colleague or bring it up at your next team meeting.
Coming back to the reason I am writing this blog (the email to the person attending the course) I needed more information to ensure the course accommodated his needs and what I found was not only useful for this situation but opened my eyes to other considerations I should be aware of generally for all delegates.
Some of the simple things we can do to within our own courses are:
- Contact our venues to get their guidelines and information about disabled access and facilities
- Ask the question on our booking confirmation instructions to prompt our future delegates to inform us in advance of their requirements
I must have read at least 25 website with numerous PDF downloads for information about this issue and the GOOD news is that there is plenty of very informative sites out there that gives you lots of great advice, templates and checklists to help your when you’re running events (I’ve listed some of the most useful I found below).
From a purely financial point of view – with a market of 7 million people it makes great commercial sense to do this.
 Nearly one in five people of working age (7 million, or 18.6%) in Great Britain have a disability. Office for National Statistics – Labour Force Survey, Jan – March 2009  There are currently 1.3 million disabled people in the UK who are available for and want to work  A 10 percentage point rise in the employment rate amongst disabled adults would contribute an extra £12 billion to the Exchequer by 2030.