After investing thousands of dollars on university fees and studying hard for a job that will change your life, imagine graduating with flying colours and still getting turned down by employers.
That’s what many graduating students with disability are experiencing every day. But why?
Less than half of graduates with disability find work in their field of study. For those that do, on average it takes them 56.2 % longer to get work than their graduate counterparts. How can we change this?
CPL’s Mylestones Employment has partnered with the University Specialist Employment Partnerships (USEP) program to support the transition for students from university into the workplace, and is aiming to get more PWD into sustainable employment.
Mylestones employee Zandreen Hoeter-Jones has been working with career advisers up and down Queensland to get the word out about employment options for graduates so businesses don’t miss out on skilled workers and jobseekers get the opportunities they deserve:
“It’s hard to study for four years and find out you’re going to a fish and chip shop rather than use your Zoology or Bachelor of Science degree. My main motivation is to close the gap between university and employment, and get assistance from local employers to help students start a career in the field they love.”
How do we support graduates and employers with finding work?
The USEP service supports students who are in their final year or graduating university and identify as having a disability or are receiving access supports. Our involvement at Mylestones Employment extends this focus to finding employment after uni.
We do this by promoting self-esteem building, practicing interview techniques and presentation, because you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
We also support with cover letters, resumes and preparation and training on how to talk to employers about disability.
Zandreen highlights that in some instances students have had set-back experiences in interviews. To combat this we work on building their skill set and mindset so that they can feel confident and comfortable in their responses.
We also offer a one-to-one personalised service for businesses, providing more information about becoming more inclusive and accessible. This includes physical modification and education in the workplace to make things a lot easier for both employee and employer during transition.
Why is it so important?
Employment is about so much more than just a job - it’s an opportunity to become more independent.
“I’ve seen some great changes in the students I support - a change in self confidence is one of the biggest and most rewarding things I’ve seen. It’s great when clients come up to us and tell us that ‘life’s never been so good’ because they’re connecting with their community through employment – that’s why we do what we do.” Said Zandreen.
People with disabilities can do anything with the right support and opportunities. There is so much businesses can gain by opening their doors to graduates – they have great business skills, are keen to learn and are ready to be shaped to fit with an employer’s needs and culture. They can utilise their expertise they have gained through study and benefit from refreshing new perspectives.
Through this partnership we can help ensure that businesses don’t miss out on skilled workers and graduates gain suitable employment. With understanding about the expectations of employers and employees, this is a win-win for all involved.