UK-based disability charity, the Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People (QEF), has launched Ask First, a range of disability equality and confidence online training courses developed specifically for the aviation industry. Ask First is a joint initiative with Ethos Farm, a customer and employee experience provider, and the partners aim to enable aviation staff to feel confident they can provide the best possible customer experience and meet the specific requirements of disabled passengers.
Meeting the needs of disabled passengers is important at a human level, as well as a commercial level. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), over a billion people, accounting for about 15% of the world’s population, have some form of disability.
The CAA also reports that the number of passengers using assistance have more than doubled since 2014, while IATA says the number of passengers with disabilities is set to increase significantly as populations expand and grow older. The World Bank believes that the post-Covid world represents an opportunity to reimagine disability inclusion.
QEF and Ethos Farm state that tailored disability equality and confidence training are key tools to support the aviation sector to create better, more inclusive customer experiences and also meet regulatory requirements as the re-start of international travel commences.
The Ask First training courses are written and delivered by disabled people and track the entire passenger journey, focusing on the needs of customers with physical, sensory, cognitive and mental health conditions, both visible and invisible. Digital and virtual classroom training is available, to give frontline staff and managers the skills to identify passengers that may require additional support and to feel confident engaging and assisting customers.
A one-day CPD-accredited, Disability Equality Training course is offered to ensure organisations are disability inclusive at all levels. The training courses can either be bought ‘off the shelf’ or customised to meet the specific requirements of an organisation or industry.
Leo Visconti, director at Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People stated, “QEF has represented the needs of disabled passengers to the airline industry for over five years and we have proactively provided Tryb4uFly assessments to give disabled people the confidence to travel by air… Disabled colleagues are directly involved in the development and delivery of Ask First. This is essential in the delivery of disability equality and confidence training.”