Australian Tertiary Education Network on Disability

Pathways15: A Right to Learn... A Right to Earn! Inclusion of People with an Intellectual Disability in Higher Education and Employment

David Pech, Centre for Disability Studies, and Tahli Hind, uni 2 beyond alumna

Should a person’s IQ determine their opportunities in life? uni 2 beyond (an initiative of the Centre for Disability Studies) has been developed and successfully implemented at the University of Sydney to empower people with intellectual disability to engage in university life and to progress from there to meaningful employment.

Launched as a pilot program in 2012, uni 2 beyond has to-date seen 50 adults with intellectual disability come to the University of Sydney to attend lectures and tutorials of their choice, join clubs and societies, and develop peer-to-peer relationships with university students. Since the beginning of 2018, uni 2 beyond has also offered a Career Advisor service, to provide advocacy and assistance to empower people with intellectual disability to reach their full career potential, with a focus on the often-neglected areas of open employment and non-traditional careers (for example, business start-ups, social enterprises, creative and performing arts).

Currently in Australia, the inclusion of people with intellectual disability into mainstream primary and secondary schooling is becoming a more common experience, however, the transition into tertiary level inclusion is a new frontier. Likewise, many workplaces remain closed to the inclusion of people with intellectual disability. uni 2 beyond is breaking down the barriers for people with intellectual disability who want to experience university life and fulfilling employment.

The presentation will include perspectives of current students and alumni. The presenters will reflect on successes to date and the gaps that still exist so that more opportunities for inclusion can become available across Australia.


David Pech is the uni 2 beyond Career Advisor. He is passionate about empowering people with disability to successfully transition to employment and education. David has worked in inclusive education for more than seven years, with experience in both secondary and tertiary institutions.

David will present collaboratively with students from the uni 2 beyond program.

Tahli Hind completed uni 2 beyond at the University of Sydney in 2018. Tahli studied a range of subjects, including health and human development, music and creative arts. Tahli is an accomplished public speaker and communicator, who always demonstrates thoughtfulness, compassion and integrity. Tahli has held a number of administrative roles, including as a clerical assistant position at a legal agency. Tahli has mild cerebral palsy and is a keen para rower winning several state awards in her category.