Australian Tertiary Education Network on Disability

Pathways15: Removing Barriers to Opportunity: How to Set Graduates with Disability on the Path to Employment Success

Daniel Valiente-Riedl, WorkFocus Australia

One in five Australians lives with disability, and this number is likely to grow.

Why is this important? It is because, beyond statistics, this number represents human potential that is underrepresented across our community, including workplaces.

When it comes to accomplishing typical educational and employment milestones, the gap in success rates achieved by people with disability and those without disability is striking.

Research shows people with disability are less likely to pursue University or TAFE courses, and highly likely to stay unemployed for longer than their peers without disability. National data also highlights the overall employment rate for graduates with disability is lower.

These gaps are attributed mainly to the lack of knowledge and skills among employers to hire people with disability, as well as limited early assistance to support students with disability transition into employment.

For students, University and TAFE career practitioners are one of the top sources to secure graduate roles. In many cases, career practitioners act as front-line advisers and guidance counsellors, and as such, play a vital role in bridging the gap in employment success rates for graduates with disability.

So how can career practitioners better support students with disabilities? What resources are available to them? Equally important are the support services available directly to graduates. How can they access these?

Delivered by WorkFocus Australia on behalf of the Australian Government, JobAccess is the national hub for workplace and employment information for people with disability, employers and service providers. It is designed to help people with disability get work, keep work and become more productive by removing systemic and attitudinal barriers to disability employment.

Drawing from extensive experience supporting thousands of Australians with disability, the presentation will feature practical tips and resources, illustrating how career practitioners can support students and graduates with disability transition into employment.


Daniel Valiente-Riedl has over 15 years’ experience in the disability sector. During this time, he has worked in areas of mental health, intellectual, acquired and physical disability.

As General Manager for JobAccess, Daniel delivers an award-winning service on behalf of the Australian Government. JobAccess is the national hub for workplace and employment information for people with disability, employers and service providers.

Daniel has a passion for working with people and has occupied senior management positions in several organisations. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Master of Business Administration, and is currently completing the Master of Science in Organisational Psychology.