The first disability awareness qualification has been produced after demand from businesses. The qualification, from Education Development International (EDI) was created in direct response from businesses that wanted their staff to comply with current legislation. The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 gives disabled people rights in employment, among other areas. This act now requires public bodies to promote equality of opportunity for disabled people. However a report published in June, entitled Disability, Skills and Work: Raising our ambitions, revealed that there were a number of myths surrounding the employability of disabled people. The report found that 45% of small firms believed it would be quite or very difficult to employ a disabled person. And even though the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) stated that employers must make reasonable adjustments for disabled people, just 15% of small firms had made alterations in order to recruit disabled staff.

Nigel Snook, chief executive of EDI, said: “We have had interest from a wide range of sectors: government agencies, utility companies, call centres and bus and coach companies. Employers realise that they need to know about their duties and responsibilities, and improve access to their services for disabled people.” The new qualification is multiple-choice test, consisting of 15 questions. It can be completed online, as well as paper-based version being available. The test covers areas such as the meaning of disability and impairment, disability rights and the language of disability. The content of the qualification can be taught in five hours.

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