In summary

  • A new report by Swinburne Access and Equity Career Consultant, David Eckstein, highlights opportunities and barriers in career support for university students with disability
  • The key finding of the report is that overall, universities do not appear to understand how students with disability think about their careers 
  • The report recommends a new funding model for Disability Employment Service providers to compensate their investment in supporting university students with disability and to enable their engagement with students from the first year of their studies 

Improved university staff training will inform and enhance careers support for students with disability, new research has found. 

The study by Swinburne Access and Equity Career Consultant, David Eckstein, highlights opportunities and barriers in career support for university students with disability. Mr Eckstein is the 2020 National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) Equity Fellow, thanks to the support of Swinburne and funding from the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

The key finding of the report is that overall, universities do not appear to understand how students with disability think about their careers. 

”Instead of validating the concerns of students with disability and giving them the experience of inclusion, the current system may entrench disability as a powerful career-disabler,“ Mr Eckstein says.  

Lack of understanding

”A lack of understanding of the way students with disability think about careers may undermine attempts to provide targeted careers support and adequately address issues that concern students with disability.

”The lack of accredited specialist training for careers professionals and the persistence of outdated notions of careers support in the broader university community indicate further service barriers.“

New funding model proposed

The study found that Disability Employment Service (DES) partnerships with university careers services are important; however, a new funding model may be required to ensure quality support. 

”Existing DES funding arrangements mean that many have to restrict their services to students with disability who have graduated, or are in their final year,“ Mr Eckstein says.  

The report recommends a new funding model for DES providers to compensate their investment in supporting university students with disability and to enable their engagement with students from the first year of their studies. 

It also found regional universities faced greater challenges in providing targeted careers support for students with disability as there may be limited scope for developing local networks relevant to graduate employment.

NCSEHE Director Professor Sarah O’Shea says, ”The recommendations from the report have the potential to make a considerable contribution to sector-wide practice and policy.“

AccessAbility Careers Hub at Swinburne

Swinburne’s AccessAbility Careers Hub provides targeted careers support for university students with disability. It won the 2019 National Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services Best Practice Award and an honourable mention in the 2020 equity awards from the United States National Association of Colleges and Employers.

The Hub was established as a co-curricular service and helps students with disability develop career management skills and secure degree-relevant work. The Hub is now progressing plans to embed inclusive practice in Swinburne’s work integrated learning experiences and continuing to build awareness with staff to support the accessibility agenda.

Read Mr Eckstein’s report ‘Meaningful jobs for students with disability: From luck to business as usual’

Related articles

    • Education

    Swinburne extends research and education partnership with Yarra Junior Football League

    Swinburne University of Technology is extending their connection with the local community, furthering their partnership with the Yarra Junior Football League.

    Monday 18 December 2023
  • Too many renters swelter through summer. Efficient cooling should be the law for rental homes
    • Social Affairs

    Too many renters swelter through summer. Efficient cooling should be the law for rental homes

    Summer is coming – and it’s starting earlier, becoming hotter and lasting longer. As the hot weather hits, many renters will be sweltering in their homes. The World Health Organization recommends a list of actions for people to deal with heat. At the top of the list is “keep your home cool”. But for many renters, this isn’t possible.

    Wednesday 22 November 2023
  • Group of teenagers using mobile phones in hallway at high school.
    • Technology
    • Education

    TikTok has a startling amount of sexual content – and it’s way too easy for children to access

    Explicit content has long been a feature of the internet and social media, and young people’s exposure to it has been a persistent concern. This issue has taken centre stage again with the meteoric rise of TikTok. Despite efforts to moderate content, it seems TikTok’s primary focus remains on maximising user engagement and traffic, rather than creating a safe environment for users.

    Monday 20 November 2023
  • International students socialising outside
    • Education
    • University

    Swinburne commits to improving international student employment outcomes

    Swinburne University of Technology is proud to announce its commitment to improving international student employment outcomes under Victoria's Commitment to Action campaign.

    Friday 17 November 2023
  • ASTRO 3D / Cristy Roberts. In 5 years, this Australian astrophysics lab reached 50% women. Here’s how they did it
    • University
    • Social Affairs

    In 5 years, this Australian astrophysics lab reached 50% women. Here’s how they did it

    Many organisations, from community sporting groups to the United Nations, have set themselves a target of gender parity: ensuring half of staff or members are women. Gender parity is desirable because training and retaining equal halves of a population’s available talent influences an organisation’s growth, problem-solving capacity and future-readiness.

    Friday 17 November 2023