All the pilots at Hovertravel have completed the hidden disability awareness training so they can understand how people with hidden disabilities such as autism, chronic pain, mental health conditions and mobility or speech impairments experience travelling on the hovercraft.
Steve Attrill, Head of Marine Operations at Hovertravel, explains: “We want everyone to be able to travel on our hovercraft and part of delivering that level of accessibility is training our teams so we gain a better understanding of our customers. It is important that we engage with all communities to be able to appreciate any challenges they face and see how we can improve their experience of accessing the hovercraft service.”
In the UK alone, 1 in 5 people has a disability, with 80% of those having an invisible disability. These could include, amongst others, autism spectrum disorder, depression, diabetes, and learning and thinking differences such as ADHD and dyslexia.
The online video training was provided by the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, the global network which was first started at Gatwick Airport in 2016. The training covers topics such as different types of invisible disabilities, statistics to highlight their frequency, how they affect everyday life and what are the effective means of supporting a passenger or colleague with an invisible disability.
Hovertravel recognises the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower. Customers can choose to wear a Sunflower lanyard as an indication that they may require additional support, assistance or simply a little more time while travelling. Hovertravel also offers free assistance through its award-winning HoverCare initiative: https://www.hovertravel.co.uk/accessible-travel