Everything You Should Know About Disability Awareness Training

Disability awareness training

Hidden disabilities can often go unidentified and subsequently unsupported in the workplace. Yet with simple reasonable adjustments, barriers can be reduced or removed allowing each individual’s strengths to shine through.

Reasonable adjustments aren’t the only enabling tool available to you. Remtek Systems Ltd offer a 2-hour Disability Awareness Training workshop, exploring simple steps that can help teams embed a culture of inclusion.

Disability awareness training

Why is disability awareness training important?

Did you know there are approximately 32.5 million people employed in the UK? According to government statistics, 18% of people have some form of disability. This is about 7 million working-age individuals (16-64). However, only 4.1 million are currently at work.  

For the disabled population, finding a job that matches their skills is often a challenge. Not to mention, disability awareness takes a backseat. This is where disability awareness training comes in. It helps employers learn how to be more inclusive of people with disabilities, especially if the organisation is relatively new to this subject. In this article, we will discuss disability in the workplace and the benefits of training.

Many disabled employees in the UK are marginalized within the workplace. Some disabilities are visible, however, others are unseen. As an employer, you should raise awareness and clear any misunderstanding or misconception about people living with a disability. The training also gives an insight into employee rights. What actions are lawful? What adjustments can you make?

Rather than solely focusing on raising awareness on disability, the training focuses on the challenges people with disabilities face and what measures can be put in place to enable individuals to thrive.

Disability discrimination

Many disabled employees report some form of discrimination in the workplace. This can come in many forms. It’s important to know the different forms of discrimination.

So, what counts as disability discrimination in the workplace?

If your employer refuses to make specific changes to accommodate your disability and you have sufficient evidence to justify the reason, then that is discrimination. Examples of the adjustments your employer can make include supplying specialist equipment, supplying additional coaching to help you complete your job, or adjusting hours suitably to support you.

For the employer to decide whether the adjustment is reasonable or not, they will need to factor in the cost. If you have a visible or hidden disability, evaluate whether your company is truly treating you unfairly before discussing disability discrimination. For example, your employer is justified in rejecting someone with severe back pain as this may make it impossible to carry out specific tasks.

Employers should discourage discrimination at the workplace by encouraging zero tolerance. Some of the steps to take include:

  • Make sure all employees understand the Equality Act 2010
  • Creating a system that reports disability discrimination
  • Ensuring all employees use inclusive language
  • Providing disability awareness training
  • Being ready to make reasonable adjustments
  • Change employee responsibilities if necessary

Diversifying workforce – including those with disabilities

Sometimes, disabled employees may be disrespected, and their abilities may be overlooked. With disability training, you can help your team change any negative attitudes. Your company should implement progressive policies that make everyone feel like a valued member of the team.

It’s also believed that having trained staff on disability awareness puts customers at ease. Your goal as an employer is to make those with disabilities feel comfortable and respected.

To boost confidence

An employer should create a supportive environment for all workers, and any interaction with disabled employees should not result in an offense. Employees with disabilities should never feel disrespected or treated unequally.

Any successful organisation in the UK creates a disability-confident workplace. Rather than focus on the loopholes that come with disabilities, your team should maximise skills and talents.

Create awareness

Create a culture of awareness. The training increases understanding of those with disability issues and eliminates preconceptions about interacting with others. It also educates employees on the different types of disabilities and issues that surround mental health. The goal is to create empathy about the challenges disabled individuals may face.

As an employer, you should devise strategies to eliminate the barriers and make everyone feel comfortable in the workplace. When your team works to its full potential, your business will thrive.

While disability awareness training is not mandatory, it brings a bundle of benefits to the workplace.

disability in the office

Benefits of disability training

Disability awareness training gives employers practical advice on how to support employees with a range of disabilities. This ensures all employees feel valued. Let’s look at some of the main benefits of disability awareness training:

1.   Encourages openness and acceptance

When you train employees about disability, you create an environment that encourages acceptance and openness. After all, you want an inclusive and productive workforce. If there is some misunderstanding surrounding a disability, you should train your staff to ask appropriate questions and gain as much understanding as possible to avoid misconceptions. You must focus on building confidence within the existing workforce and gaining knowledge.

Appropriate communication is also vital. Make sure everyone understands and are using the correct terminologies.

2.   Helps to change the attitude towards disability

Changing attitudes ensures that all stakeholders are empowered to achieve their full potential. But here is the thing – some disabilities may get overlooked. For instance, most organisations install a lift or ramp for persons with mobility problems and forget other disabilities like poor sight, dyslexia, autism, etc.

Remtek Workplace disability awareness training gives some understanding of the challenges dyslexia and other learning difficulties come with.

Even better, the employees can learn how to dispel stereotypes and create a positive narrative.

3.   Make employees feel valued

When you introduce disability awareness training, you get better-educated employees. This feeling of value should extend to disabled visitors with openness to equal opportunities. Even if there are no disabled employees within an organisation, this type of training demonstrates openness, inclusion, diversity and equal opportunities.

After the training, those employees with disabilities will feel valued and learn ways to mitigate the challenges they find at the workplace. As an employer, there are things you can do to make your workplace more disability-friendly:

  • Form support groups
  • Offer DSE assessments
  • Adjust working hours or responsibilities
  • Record disability-related absences
  • Allow for flexible working hours
  • Offer specialist training and support
  • Make the workplace physically accessible
  • Revise policies
  • Eliminate the barriers disabled people face

4.   Good for public relations

There’s no better way to create an inclusive message within an organisation than with disability awareness training. When a business or company is disability-friendly, it shows the value you’ve placed on inclusivity. Plus, customers will be loyal to brands that show good values.

If you want stakeholders and the general public to view your organisation positively and inclusive, promoting disability awareness can really help.

Promoting inclusion can include the display of appropriate information in communal areas and incorporating disability training into your onboarding process. This helps employees to acquire new information and become knowledgeable before starting with your business. Such practices will make promote the right messages about the organisation.

5.   Ability to tap into a huge market

If your company is geared towards inclusivity, you could benefit from a previously unattainable talent pool.

A disability-friendly workplace ensures that reasonable adjustments are offered for people with disabilities. Not having an inclusive recruitment process, may discourage individuals with disabilities to apply. You could be missing out on hiring talented individuals.

6.   Improves customer service

After disability awareness training, your staff will have a better understanding of any barriers in your organisation. Besides that, they will learn how to deal with specific conditions such as visual impairment and dyslexia. Not to mention, your customer service team becomes much more confident when helping disabled customers.

7.   Help others learn workplace requirements

The Equality Act in the UK recognises disabled employee rights in the workplace. As an employer, you must show stakeholders how you deal with disabilities. Disability awareness training highlights the requirements you follow when supporting those with disabilities or difficulties.

According to the Equality Act 2010, a disabled person has the right to a reasonable adjustment. For example, if you have a hearing problem, an adjustment could be a hearing loop. Items such as these are low cost, and the benefits are realised by everyone. In a nutshell, the act promotes equal access to opportunities for people with disabilities.

By law, employers should consider all the requests from disabled employees. If you think an adjustment is too expensive, you must show why.

8.   Encourages an inclusive workplace culture

The training helps to develop a culture of inclusion for everyone. Everyone feels valued and motivated to do the best they can, in turn enabling your organization to thrive.


Data showing the benefits of disability training

On average, more than 11 million people live with disabilities in the UK. With disability awareness training, employers are creating a more inclusive workforce.

For the last three years, the number of disabled people in employment has increased by 2%. This is because of the push to make workplaces more inclusive. Organisations have a legal obligation not to discriminate against those with disabilities and give access to equal job opportunities.

Many disabled people in the UK face prejudice or lack the support to help them become productive in their workplace. Others fear to disclose the challenges they face to avoid negative consequences. With disability training, employers can support the growing number of disabled people in the workplace.

Who is disability awareness training for?

The training is suitable for management and staff alike. It offers an open platform for people to ask questions they may be afraid to ask. Human resources and senior management benefit substantially from this type of training. Generally, employers get practical advice on how to be supportive of employees with disability problems.

Some of the adjustments are easy to implement and without any cost to the employer. At the end of the session, managers become disability confident and allow for a more inclusive workplace. The key recommendations to the employer are:

  • Follow good recruitment advice
  • Develop an action plan for change
  • Ensure that the senior team has the skills to manage and understand their legal obligations
  • Network with other employers who follow disability-related workplace practices
  • Create equal opportunities to succeed


Disability awareness for employers

There are many advantages to hiring an all-inclusive workforce. Despite this, employers fail to consider disabled people and miss out on untapped talent. Some of the tips to build an all-inclusive workplace include:

1.   Design an all-inclusive recruitment process

An all-inclusive recruitment process includes everyone and allows individuals to demonstrate their potential. But to attract a wider pool of applicants, you must emphasize your commitment to inclusion.

In addition, you should state the adjustments available in the recruitment process. The idea is to offer the benefits your organisation provides, like remote working and flexible working initiatives. You can also establish a contact point to answer all questions on the adjustments available.

An employer can also adjust at each stage of the recruitment process. This could be issues like communication support or room for additional time during recruitment.

2.   Train and develop

Training can drive a shift in workplace culture on matters to do with disability. For instance, you could invite speakers to present training sessions on specific disabilities or difficulties or engage partners to offer assistive technology training.

3.   Encourage a positive and supportive culture

In the UK, you will find no law that requires employees to disclose their disabilities to their employer. However, if you adopt a positive approach to employee wellbeing, staff can support any health concerns. The best approach is to recommend adjustments to overcome potential barriers. Any disclosure must be treated as confidential and not be shared with employees unless there’s genuine consent.

4.   Workplace adjustments

The law requires employers to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees. This is considered on a case-by-case basis and the severity of the disability. Apart from that, employers must discuss with the workforce what they experience and make the necessary adjustments. You can even invite specialists to recommend the best adjustments for employees. Our ergonomics professionals offer reliable ergonomics advice and appropriate recommendations for a range of conditions.

5.   Other ways to make the workplace disability friendly

As an employer, you should remove any barriers that may be to the disadvantage of disabled employees and make it difficult for them to carry out their duties. This may include:

  • Educating other employees on the challenges a disabled person may face in the office
  • Make the workplace accessible
  • Forming a support group
disability inclusion

What are the risks of not investing in a disability awareness training program?

  • You could miss out on talented individuals

Individuals with disabilities and difficulties have a range of talents. If you ignore such people, you lower productivity and risk missing out on untapped talents. For example, did you know that Albert Einstein was dyslexic.

  • Discrimination

If you don’t recognise people with disabilities, some employees could be treated less favourably than others. A disabled worker could also be disadvantaged by a workplace practice like recruitment or redundancy.

  • Employees may not understand the barriers disabled individuals face

Failing to understand disability among the workforce can lead to many challenges. This can have a long-term effect on accomplishing daily activities. Plus, those in managerial positions may not know how to make reasonable adjustments and help talented individuals to carry out their jobs to the best of their ability.

A reasonable adjustment aims to help the employee accomplish the tasks without any damage or interruption of business. For example, an organisation may fail to provide a ramp for a wheelchair for someone with trouble walking. An employee may also be denied flexible working hours.

If you allow your senior employees and subordinates to take the disability awareness training, you are empowering your entire organisation.

  • Lost customers

Lack of training reduces the ability of the organisation to respond to disabled clients and customers. This could damage your reputation.

  • Employers may ignore the equal opportunities policy

You must give all employees the same working opportunity. If you don’t embrace the awareness training, you may not treat disabled employees like everyone else.

Disability awareness benefits

Final thoughts

Disability awareness training is designed to create a transparent and more inclusive workforce. The sessions that we deliver help you understand disabilities and differences better and encourage a workforce that acknowledges disabled individuals.

Our training workshop aims to:

  • Create a safe and inclusive training environment
  • Increase awareness, understanding, and confidence around disability
  • Explain the different models of disability
  • Highlight different types of learning difficulties, neurodiversity (ie. dyslexia), and their various impacts
  • Share good disability etiquette
  • Change mindsets!

At the end of the session, you will learn how to communicate better with disabled employees, appreciate their challenges, and ensure zero tolerance for disability discrimination. Once you have robust policies in place, your employees will be productive and empowered.

Would disability awareness training be useful for your organisation? If you have a disability awareness training question or would like to book a FREE consultation with one of our experts email us today at workplace@remtek-online.co.uk.

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