Australian Tertiary Education Network on Disability

Pathways15: Making Meaningful Work Business as Usual. Strategies, Issues and Choices That Support Graduate Employment Outcomes for Students with Disability

David Eckstein, Equity Fellow – NCSEHE; Friederike Gadow, Australian National University; and Jane Andersen, University of the Sunshine Coast

University graduates with disability are more likely to be unemployed and more likely to be in work that does not use their skills or education compared to graduates without disability (2018 Graduate Outcomes Survey). They also make up only 2 per cent of participants in employers graduate programs (AAGE, 2019). Scarce resources and service silos create barriers to remediating action (Harvey et al, 2017). The National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education funded national research to investigate these barriers and this workshop will engage participants with some of the projects key findings.

Consistent with key conference themes, presenters from Swinburne University, Australian National University and the University of the Sunshine Coast will highlight and discuss the influence of a range of local factors affecting careers support initiatives for students with disability. Participants will be guided to outline individual innovation strategies and plans that cater to their university circumstances and their students’ needs and preferences.

The workshop will focus on strategies for developing and harnessing internal and external collaboration for the benefit of students including:

  • Developing careers staff's baseline disability competencies to enhance understanding between services and reduce service-silo mindsets
  • Understanding how university careers services work, and how careers education principles can be implemented to better serve students with disability, and
  • Highlighting available resources and engaging with interested stakeholders including industry groups, external (funded) providers and other universities.

Participants will also (re)discover key benefits to a collaborative approach, including positive experiences for your students, while maximising impact and upskilling staff. The workshop is also an experiential introduction to a national community of practice that provides a safe place to discuss issues and choices, as well as open access resources.


David Eckstein is 2020 Equity Fellow at the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education. His research into careers support for students with disability will result in open-access tools and guidelines for all universities to use. David is a university careers practitioner and established Swinburne University's AccessAbility Careers Hub - a disability initiative that received the 2019 NAGCAS best practice award and Honorable Mention from the United States National Association of Colleges and Employers. His interests include notions of professional self, industry disability confidence, and using narrative methods to help people develop and implement meaningful workforce participation plans.

Friederike Gadow, Senior Project Officer, Accessibility and Employability, Office of PVC (Education), Australian National University | PhD candidate, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney. Friederike leads accessibility and employability projects at ANU, using a wide range of university and industry stakeholders to create meaningful and sustainable initiatives for the benefit of students. With over 15 years’ experience in the disability sector across service provision, higher education and research, Friederike is passionate about harnessing the power of collaboration for collective and individual benefit. Friederike’s dedication to furthering inclusion of people with disability is also realised through her PhD study on social inclusion of people with intellectual disability who live in a home of their choice.

Jane Anderson is the Manager of AccessAbility and Learning Advisers at USC. Prior to joining USC 6 years ago, she worked in specialist occupational therapy practice areas including youth mental health, early intervention for psychosis, neurology and pain management. She’s also held academic and clinical education positions, as well as Occupational Therapy Professional Director. Being a passionate occupational therapist, Jane knows the innate value of engagement in purposeful occupation, and loves the link between her clinical and higher education practice enabling occupation and the right to access education. Developing inherent academic requirements, and introducing USEP to USC are two recent career highlights.