The uptake of university courses has increased over past years by students with disability looking to improve employment prospects. However Graduate Careers Australia researchers recently identified graduates with disability took up to 56 percent longer to gain full time employment compared to those without disability.
The University Specialist Employment Partnership (USEP) aims to reverse this trend to improve graduate employment outcomes by establishing an on-campus specialist recruitment service that links a Disability Employment Services consultant with university career advisors and disability support officers.
The National Disability Coordination Officer Program (NDCO) devised this model from discussions with university staff. Since NDCO conception by the Australian Federal Department of Education, it has identified this gap in transition to meaningful and sustainable graduate employment. Many resources and projects have assisted with awareness via student newsletters, campus engagement, individual projects however nothing long term has tackled this systemic barrier.
The Partnership is in the first year of implementation at Griffith University, University of Tasmania and James Cook University. A number of other Universities have expressed interest, and are currently in dialogue. A USEP consultant sits at each campus working closely with the disability and careers areas to form a strong collaborative relationship. This includes cross-training and skills sharing on how to assist people with disability to engage with employers and better understand the recruitment process.
Referrals to the Partnership are through the university or directly. A portal has been created to maintain data and correspondence, to establish meaningful data to share with all Partners, and to showcase to the Australian Government that continued work is required to bridge this gap. www.usep.com.au
If you are a university and would like to participate or know more, visit the USEP website for additional information and best contact methods. This program can help you:
- Increase graduate outcomes for students with disability in obtaining employment.
- Increase opportunities for Career Advisors and DSO/DLOs to troubleshoot employment queries with disability employment specialists.
- Targeted training to build capacity and knowledge of staff.
- Access a pool of talented graduates with disability to meet your goals of building a diverse and inclusive workplace.
- Link directly with students from your specialty area.
- Build on-campus connections to work with, discuss and implement best practice in recruitment and inclusion practices.
More information and contact details to join this pilot project can be found: www.usep.com.au