Hot off the press – in the Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research is a solid article taking a closer look at the barriers that University students with disability face transitioning to graduate employment.
Disability research titled: “The transition to employment: the perspectives of students and graduates with disabilities” – Clodagh Nolan & Claire Irene Gleeson (2017), begins with an all too familiar discussion: University graduates with disabilities are not gaining employment at the same rate as graduates without disability.
Of particular interest in this article is the discussion about disclosure brought forward by the students. Disclosing a disability comes with it a number of challenges an opportunities. Of the 22 participants in this study, many chose not to disclose, and those with a visible disability disclosed sooner. One student articulated lack of disclosure as not wishing to be employed on the basis of equity targets – “If I’m being completely and brutally honest, I didn’t want to get a job on the basis of being, of having Asperger’s Syndrome, I wanted to get a job on my own terms saying “Look at me, I’m employable, hire me, come on you idiots, I’m really good””
This further highlights the value of guidance in the decision about the timing of disclosure. Disclosure in Australia should not be an issue – employers should have the competence and confidence to recruit based on role fit, however, there is pervasive apprehension on both sides of the fence (and, it would appear in Ireland as well!).
In Nolan & Gleeson’s article, they neatly sum up the need to access services available “Graduates maintained that individuals should get as much support as they could from the college services. They recommended that students should obtain part-time work and try to develop coping strategies, which would enable them in the workforce. They also advised students to get information on employment opportunities earlier and suggested that students engage in mock interviews.”
In our search for great ideas that are adaptable to USEP for the trial participants involved, one item identified in this study was the engagement of mentors with disability in the workforce being available for students. We think this is a great idea – and will work it in to the service delivery alongside the work experience & internship and/or practical experience elements.
Further, it’s encouraging that others agree that it is important that students with disability gain access to a greater level of service and expertise in the search for work, with the authors stating in their discussion “This therefore highlights the need to develop more tailored and individualized supports for students and graduates with disabilities as they transition from college to employment, thus ensuring that they receive equal access to services and are successful in gaining the same standard of employment as their non-disabled peers.”
Great to see some more research in the field of graduate employment for students with disability.
Note – quotes in this post are direct quotes from:
Clodagh Nolan & Claire Irene Gleeson (2017) The transition to employment: the perspectives of students and graduates with disabilities, Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, 19:3, 230-244.