Education to Employment Education to Employment

Section 4: What is a tertiary education career service?

This section provides basic information about the career services generally available in Vocational Education and Training institutions such as TAFE; and higher education institutions such as universities.

We also explain the role they can play in supporting finishing students or graduates with disability.

What is a tertiary education career service?

Tertiary education career services are provided by the tertiary education provider (university, TAFE or other) to their students and sometimes to recent graduates (usually up to 12 months after completing the course) to help students and graduates plan their future career; find a job and develop the skills needed to find and secure a job.

These services are different in each institution but here are some examples of typical activities run by tertiary career services:

  • running group skill development workshops for students, such as resume writing, interviewing techniques, etc;
  • providing individual career counselling (usually only while a student is enrolled in one of their courses) to help plan specific steps a student can take to develop a career in the field they are studying;
  • providing on-line resources to help with finding work; career planning; and getting ready for graduate employment;
  • advertising to students job vacancies in the local area and/or with employers relevant to courses run by the institution;
  • acting as a liaison between their student body and employers looking to recruit students and graduates; and
  • running employment placement programs where a student is placed with an employer for a specific period to gain relevant field experience.

What can tertiary education career services do to help a graduate with disability and their employer?

Helping Graduates

Assistance from the institution's career service can be especially important for a student or graduate with disability to help overcome some of the common barriers to securing graduate employment. Sometimes students with disabilities have had less opportunity to gain work experience during their studies and/or to start their career planning whilst studying. Help from the career service can be a vital boost to 'catch up' on some of these issues before finishing the course or when recently graduated.

Under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act (1992) students and graduates with disability are entitled to receive the same services from the institution's career service as students who do not have a disability.

Depending on the student or graduate's needs, it may also be useful for the career service to liaise with the institution's disability services. Disability services do not generally provide individual support to student with disability to find employment, however they may be available to provide disability-related information, resources and/or training to help the career service best support their students with disability.

Helping Employers

Many institution's career service welcome the opportunity to help connect prospective employers with their students and recent graduates. Here are some examples of how a tertiary education career service may help an employer:

  • advertise vacancies directly to their students and/or recent graduates
  • arrange job interviews with students by the employer on campus
  • coordinate an employment placement of a student in the workplace and/or
  • run a career event on campus to allow prospective employers to exhibit to students.

Working with Disability Employment Services

It may be very helpful for a TAFE or university career service to work with a Disability Employment Service (DES) provider when supporting a student with disability to find employment in their chosen field (if the student needs additional employment support). A DES and career service can be very effective when working together to support a student with disability find employment in their new field.

A career service can help by:

  • supporting the student to successfully plan and prepare for the move from TAFE or university into qualified employment;
  • use their existing network of employers most likely to employ their graduates; and
  • give details of any workshops, programs or events run by the institution for finishing students about future employment.

A DES can help to:

  • identify the student's disability related needs;
  • provide/arrange any necessary training to help the student get ready for employment; and
  • negotiate and step up any workplace adjustments and employer incentives after the employee has secured their new job.

How does a student or graduate with disability get help from a tertiary education career service?

A student with disability can directly contact their institution's career service usually either via email or by phoning and making an appointment with a career advisor. Many institutions also have a 'drop-in' session available, where students can visit the career service without an appointment during a specific time.

Some institutions also continue to offer the career service's assistance to those who have recently graduated from their institution. The graduate can make direct contact either via email or phone.

Where can I find a tertiary education career service?

Details of the career service at each institution are usually available on the institution's website.