“Welcoming Ways” - Training sessions on customer services for travellers with disabilities and seniors persons

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Development and delivery of courses in hospitality and customer service for those working with persons with disabilities and seniors, and given by persons with restricted physical ability.

“Welcoming Ways” is a course on service delivery to persons with disabilities and seniors in Quebec. The client's needs and the responsibilities of the employees being trained are analyzed. There are several modules available. The basic training is a three-hour course for 12 to 18 individuals. If the participants' duties require them to provide physical assistance or, for instance, transfer a person with disabilities, an additional module on transfer and assistance techniques is added. Similarly, if the training is for airline personnel, a module on handling wheelchairs is added.

Objectives :
- to develop the hospitality and customer service skills of culture and tourism industry personnel who work with persons with disabilities and seniors;
- to improve the quality of services offered to persons with disabilities and to seniors.

Course content :
- the clientele and the market;
- description of client groups;
- perceptions and attitudes;
- hospitality and assistance techniques;
- practical exercises.

The trainers are persons with restricted physical ability. Simply being in contact with a person with disabilities during the training helps the participants feel more at ease with these clients, as well as understand their needs.

For students of tourism, the training takes place in classrooms. For personnel already working in the tourism field, the training is conducted at the place of business or in a hotel meeting room. At the end of each session, the participants fill out a course evaluation form, which helps to improve the course content. The training has also been adapted to the demands of the business world, and the health and transportation sectors.

The course is available for sale and is tax deductible for companies and organizations. Two types of training are available: private (for preestablished groups) and public (which allows individual registrations). A fact book and certificate are distributed to participants. A provincial grant covers two-thirds of the course expenses, when it is sold to Quebec learning institutions. The trainers have university-level training in human resources management or relevant experience in group facilitation.

The training is certified by Emploi Québec and by the Conseil québécois de ressources humaines en tourisme. The course is recognized by Tourisme Québec as part of its tourism industry quality program.

Resources needed :
Kéroul has one staff member dedicated to refining and improving the course and another who markets the course to members of the tourism and cultural industry in Quebec and Canada. The course is available in both English and French. A group of six trainers in three cities complete the team. In response to training requests from outside Canada, Kéroul has developed a “training the trainers” program, which consists of a weeklong workshop intensive.

Results :
Since 1983, over 20,000 persons have been trained. The training, initially offered to tourism industry employees and tourism and hotel students, has been adapted to the demands of the business world, the culture industry, and the health and transportation sectors. Air, motor coach and public urban transit carriers and a number of employees of museums and tourist attractions, hotels, and now financial institutions and government have also taken the training.

Key elements :
- training offered by persons with restricted physical ability;
- flexible training adapted to the needs of businesses;
- training recognized by government human resource agencies;
- eligible training expense under provincial tax law;
- constantly updated training and improved based on participant evaluations.

4545, avenue Pierre-De Coubertin, C.P. 1000, Succursale M.
Montréal, Quebec
Canada H1V 3R2
Phone: 1-514-252-3104
Fax: 1-514-254-0766
E-mail: jflavoie@keroul.qc.ca
Website: www.keroul.qc.ca