Successful partnership increasing access to careers
University Specialist Employment Partnership (USEP) is a collaborative program preparing and connecting tertiary students with disability to employment relevant to their qualifications.
The USEP partnership has been successfully operating on the Adelaide University campus since the beginning of 2021, when Disability Support joined with Career Services and external disability employment specialist, Community Bridging Services Inc.
As employers seek to diversify their workforce, opportunities for students with a disability to secure a career post-graduation, are increasing. Sascha Lemon-Spence, USEP Coordinator, also runs programs with UniSA and Flinders University and over 5 years has reported that 20% of students who have connected with her have moved into work within their field of study. Some of these have been graduate roles, others into industry related fields.
Those who have engaged with the service have enjoyed some good outcomes:
I would like to inform you that I have been able to secure work by leveraging the correspondences we’ve had and positively engaging with your services, support and advice. I would like to thank you for listening and understanding last year when I was in a very, very bad place. I can attest to the positive benefit that you have conferred onto a marginalised cohort of students and I would like to thank you again.
University of Adelaide Student, 2021
Employers have also enjoyed success when dealing with the program.
Having USEP, and Sascha, as a trusted partner in not only sourcing but supporting candidates with disabilities in to our graduate pipeline has resulted in some amazing outcomes. The ongoing support offered by Sascha post-employment has also been amazing.
Employer – Rachel Gunston from Accenture
Current students can reach out to USEP to discuss disability related issues including accessing resources and how to form linkages in and out of University, in addition to preparing to job search and how to connect with employers. Linkages are important, and they can be internal and external. Sascha has also assisted students to make better connections with their school and faculties to help them progress in their study. She also also available to assist staff in managing complicated student situations. Sascha notes that a current hot topic is ‘disclosure’ and she is also able to assist students to build their knowledge about managing their conditions and possible impacts on study and in the workplace.
Sacha is in constant contact with employers and has discovered that ‘ I often have opportunities available and no suitable students to refer.’ As such, she encourages academics to promote her services to students who are nearing graduation.
Disability as a definition is so broad, if you or your students aren’t sure if they are eligible for support or services, staff and students are encouraged to contact USEP or Career Services for a confidential discussion.
Sascha conducts consults every Wednesday from the Careers Office on the North Terrace campus. Bookings can be made via Career Hub. Students can also contact Careers Service via phone on 8313 5123.