Many universities offer ongoing support to graduates through their Alumni Department or Careers Service. This is certainly much-needed for those with a disability.
It was disappointing to learn in the latest What Happens Next? report that despite figures being based on the Graduate Outcomes survey for the first time (i.e. 15 months after graduating as opposed to 6 months as was under DLHE) there was little difference in terms of disabled graduates’ employment prospects. So, the idea that perhaps these graduates just need more time to find their feet in the graduate job market doesn’t tally with the data.
Here are some ways to support disabled graduates at your university:
- Produce a newsletter, resource or webpage outlining the specific support you are providing
- Collaborate with charities and organisations to run an event. Consider targeting certain graduates e.g. a bespoke workshop aimed at neurodiverse graduates
- Promote internships aimed at disabled final year students / graduates to help them with the transition from study to employment
- Recruitment processes can be a big barrier for disabled graduates. You could provide mock assessment centres / mock interview support
- Virtual monthly drop-in for disabled graduates or deliver some informal Q&A sessions
- Offer longer careers appointments / more appointments for disabled graduates
- Consider offering both online & in-person support (if possible & safe) so that people who have a preference for in-person support can access that, and vice versa
- Promote free mindfulness and wellbeing classes that are being run by your university
- Work with Alumni Departments on an event (e.g. invite disabled alumni talk about their experiences in the job market or invite employers who you know to be inclusive and proactive)
Edmund Lewis, AGCAS Disability Task Group, University of Westminster