Since first opening its doors in June 2018, Swinburne’s AccessAbility Careers Hub has helped almost 400 students navigate the employment process and many have now secured part-time and full-time work.
The Hub is the first careers service of its kind in Australia. This week, it was named as one of six Australian initiatives to be shortlisted for the international Zero Project 2020 Education Awards, which celebrate projects that improve the lives of people with disabilities. The Hub was also included in the shortlist for the Australian Financial Review’s Higher Education Awards last month.
The AccessAbility Careers Hub Coordinator, David Eckstein, says the service has empowered hundreds of undergraduate and post-graduate Swinburne students to develop career management skills and maximise their employability.
Students Claire Diesendorf and Luke Henson have both used the service and say it helped them secure their dream jobs.
Helping students get the jobs they want
Claire has almost completed a Bachelor of Social Science as a mature-age student. Through the Hub, she got help with job applications and the interview process.
“I was able to talk with my consultant on the phone and practice answering questions which helped with prepping for the interview. If I didn’t get the job I could debrief with my consultant, and we talked about how I think I went and what I could learn for next time,” says Claire.
Claire has already successfully transitioned into employment, landing a job she loves with not-for-profit organisation and community mental health service, Flourish.
"The Hub gave me the confidence to show an employer that regardless of my disability, I am the best person for the position,” Claire says.
“Swinburne and the Hub make it easy for me, and other students with disability, to access employment and to learn how to transfer our skills and experiences into the workforce.”
Swinburne's AccessAbility Careers Hub provides targeted careers services for higher education students and graduates living with disability.
Connecting students with employers
Luke completed a Diploma of Human Resouces Management and recently joined Crown Melbourne as a human resource project coordinator.
Luke says he found the Hub’s mid-year expo, panel discussions and networking events particularly useful.
“It’s given me more perspective on what is possible and where I can potentially end up,” Luke says.
“I hate using the word ‘disability’. But, if you do have disability, it’s not easy to get a job and, if you have a job, it’s hard to keep the job. The Hub shows students and employers what those with disability can do and achieve,” Luke says.
Bridging the gap
“The fact is Australians living with disability have a harder time finding employment than those without disability, despite their ability to excel in the workplace,” Mr Eckstein says.
“At the Hub, we help people with disability take better control of their careers. Students use evidence to document their unique value and to find their voice in recruitment processes and we explore issues including unconcious bias and the use of available tools so they can better manage their careers.”
“Many students have enthusiastically told us how the Hub has helped them. The sentiment at the heart of this feedback is expressed by the student who said: ‘I’ve been waiting for this my whole life’,” Mr Eckstein says.
The AccessAbility Careers Hub is a partnership between Swinburne’s Careers and Employability and AccessAbility Services areas, and includes collaboration with the disability employment services provider, WISE Employment.