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I’m a blind Paralympian with a master’s, but getting a job was my biggest hurdle…

In case you missed it, I thought our readers might be interested in a recent Guardian article from Jessica Luke, a blind graduate and Paralympian, who believes that unfair application processes are still excluding her, and many other blind jobseekers, from graduate roles.

 Great Britain’s Jessica Luke (left) and Georgina Bullen (right) during the women’s goalball match against Denmark. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA

Great Britain’s Jessica Luke (left) and Georgina Bullen (right) during the women’s goalball match against Denmark. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA

Luke backs up her message with the depressing statistic that,
“Two-thirds of registered blind and partially sighted people of working age are not in paid employment.” (Douglas et al, Network 1000, 2006)

As usual the comments below are interesting too. Well worth a read I think.

Claire Byron, AGCAS Disability Task Group, Newcastle University

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What Happens Next 2015 Report

The latest edition of ‘What Happens Next: A Report on the First Destinations of Disabled Graduates’ is now available. This report compares the employment outcomes of disabled and non-disabled university leavers six months after graduation and draws upon the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey.

In the report (attached) we looked at:
– Disabled graduate destinations
– How they found their jobs
– Their reasons for choosing their jobs
– How well they felt university prepared them for their next career step

You can download the report here on the AGCAS website.

We hope you find it interesting and useful.

Mark Allen, Careers Consultant, Imperial College London

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Supporting disabled students’ transitions from Higher Education into employment: What works?

In November 2014 the Equality Challenge Unit published a report on helping disabled students during that all important transition between H.E. and employment. The report ‘Supporting disabled students’ transitions from Higher Education into employment: What works?’ follows an investigation into the provision of support focused on disabled students across H.E. Institutions. This research was gathered from a range of sources including university careers services, disability organisations, and of course disabled students. The outcome is an interesting and valuable report which proactive careers services looking to improve their provision for disabled students could really extremely useful.

The report initially taps into what careers services should hopefully always aim to be well versed, in such as employers’ duty to make reasonable adjustments, or the availability of funding for workplace support, along with links to a range of useful resources. Building on this however it contains real value in sharing ideas and good practices that careers services across the UK have employed successfully. These could be used ideas and inspiration for all able services. For example, in the section on Providing accessible information, advice and guidance to disabled students and graduates there are descriptions of a great range of initiatives which include,

  • Brunel University – along with providing leaflets and documents on important issues for the students on the likes of disclosure, the Placement and Careers Service have written a ‘Good practice guide for employers on providing work placements to disabled students’. Useful to assist employers interested in their students becoming diversity focused.
  • Staffordshire University – the Careers Centre run a series of talks designed for disabled students which has been put together following consultation with the university’s Student Enabling Centre and the Disabled Students’ Engagement Group, who decided which talks would be of most use. A programme created in collaboration with those who will use it.

These, and many more noted initiatives can be very useful in arming students with information and opportunities to meet diversity positive employers, however the report has some information on other initiatives aimed at assisting with the transition into H.E. in the first place. E.g.

  • Manchester Met have developed a peer-mentoring service, where new students prior to starting their course are offered a peer mentor; a disabled student already attending the institution. This aims to reduce student drop for new students out during the transition into H.E., along with helping present students use and develop employability schemes through being a mentor.

There are of course limitations with this report’s ideas. What it does do is contain a lot of information, inspirational ideas and initiatives, which along with summarised overall recommendations could really make a difference to assisting the transition between H.E. and employment. What it does not take into account is that institutions and services are constrained with resources, funding, institutional politics which can really limit what they can realistically aspire to achieve.

Having said that the report gives some useful information and insight into existing good practice on within H.E. careers services and, for those services who are willing and able, can be used as a handbook of strategies and ideas to really add to provision for disabled students, and hopefully with their transition from H.E. to the workplace.

You can download this report at the following link.
http://www.ecu.ac.uk/publications/supporting-disabled-students-transitions-higher-education-employment/

Mark Allen, AGCAS Disability Task Group, Imperial College London

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Supporting disabled clients – case studies and frequently asked questions on the AGCAS website

The AGCAS Disability Task group have recently produced a series of case studies, providing advice for colleagues, based on real experiences of working with clients. The case studies cover the following disabilities: Asperger syndrome, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, hearing impairment, mental health and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

These studies are designed to share some potential practical solutions and ideas that we hope will be a source of help to our AGCAS colleagues. We would, of course, be very pleased to receive feedback.

The case studies can be found by signing in as normal onto the main AGCAS site, typing ‘Disability’ into the search field and looking in the ‘Resources‘ section.

The studies can be used alone or in conjunction with the ‘Frequently asked questions‘ section, which we have recently updated and which can be found in the same place on the AGCAS site as the case studies. The questions cover a range of typical issues that colleagues working with disabled clients may need to know about. The questions are:

1. What does the legal definition of disability include and what current legislation should you be aware of with regards to disability issues in the workplace?

2. What is a Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA), how do individuals apply for it and what type of educational support might it provide?

3. What type of support do university careers services typically provide to disabled students and graduates?

4. How, when and why should a student disclose their disability in an application for employment or further study?

5. How can you identify disability-friendly employers?

6. How do disabled graduates fare in the job market?

7. What further resources should I refer to when working with disabled students and graduates?

We hope the information is helpful.

Paul Barnes, Disability Task Group member.

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Get that Job – The new AGCAS video for disabled students and graduates

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The Disability Task Group is pleased to announce the release of Get that Job, which is aimed at supporting students and graduates in their transition from university into employment.
The video looks at the following areas,

– identifying disability-friendly employers
– applying for work
– disclosing a disability
– adjustments in the workplace

Get that Job features opinion from disabled graduates who discuss their experiences of moving from university into their jobs.  They talk through their feelings and experiences of the recruitment process, the pros and cons of the notoriously grey area of disclosure, as well as their advice for present students.

To assist present students with finding the right employer and the transition into the workplace we also have the perspective of employers from different sectors, a specialist Disability Careers Adviser and a representative of the not-for-profit organisation EmployAbility.

Additionally we also look at adjustments in the workplace.  Although need in this area vary hugely depending on the individual, some of our graduates discuss those they have in place.  For adjustments where there may be a cost, there is also information and advice on obtaining funding.

Overall we feel this video is really able to assist the nearly 10% of graduates* who disclose a disability with their career journey after university.

The programme was made possible by generous support from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Shell International and Microlink PC. For further details take a look at,
http://www.agcas.org.uk/agcas_resources/671-Get-that-Job-streaming-licence-

(* AGCAS Disability Task Group report, 10 years on – 2013)

Mark Allen

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Enhancing your work with disabled students and graduates – AGCAS Training Event – Monday 24th March 2014

Hilary Whorrall and I are facilitating the above session at The Open University in Milton Keynes.  We have a few places left, further details and booking form can be found on the AGCAS website.  If you are interested contact me as soon as possible at eddie.tunnah@open.ac.uk

It should be a good day – in addition to ourselves we have inputs from the Open University’s Mental Health Adviser, and organisations Leonard Cheshire Disability and EmployAbility.

It will also be the chance to have a first look at the Disability Task Groups new video: ‘Get that job: a guide for graduates with disabilities’.

Eddie Tunnah, Chair of Disability Task Group.Image

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The New AGCAS DTG Blog!

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Welcome to the new AGCAS Disability Task Group blog.

Our group comprises of H.E. careers professionals from across the UK whose aim is to make progress on a range of issues concerning support for disabled students and graduates. We have decided to start this blog for a few reasons.

Firstly, to keep likeminded careers professionals up to date with the group’s work, such as,
– Training events, like the ‘Enhancing your work with disabled students and graduates‘ session next month
– Reports, including the as ‘What Happens Next?’ which details destinations information of disabled graduates across the UK.
– Information resources, such as ‘Working with disabled students and graduates – FAQs’ on the AGCAS website.

Secondly, we hope to use this blog as a place to share experience and good practice from both ourselves, and other practitioners across AGCAS, when working with disabled students.

Thirdly, we intend to highlight any new useful resources, organisations or training events that we feel may be of interest to other careers professionals who share interest in working with students and graduates with disabilities.

If you are interested please stay tuned, sign up, or do whatever people do with blogs, and we hope that you will find this blog useful and/or interesting. Hopefully both!

Mark Allen

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