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Workplace adjustments and future career options

When deciding on a career direction, consider whether your disability will affect your capacity to work in the career(s) you are interested in. The challenge in thinking about the effect of your disability on your future work life is to balance a realistic approach with a confidence that people with disability can and do work successfully in a wide range of fields. The effects of your disability should and need not be an unnecessary barrier to working in your dream career.

Here are some strategies for thinking about potential careers as a graduate with disability:

  • Don't assume from initial information about the industry that you couldn't perform the work. Ask specific questions and seek advice. You might be surprised by the workplace adjustments that are possible and effective.
  • Do a 'reality test' on whether work in your selected career can be adjusted to accommodate the effects of your disability in the workplace. Find out as much as possible about the daily work tasks usually involved in the industry and the job requirements. Think practically through the day to day realities of the tasks you would need to perform and the other requirements you would have to meet.
  • Have a broad understanding of your right to workplace adjustments under anti-discrimination legislation and therefore what you can and should expect an employer to do to accommodate the effects of your disability at work.
  • Think about whether you would prefer to disclose your disability at work or not. Some career directions are more likely to require disclosure than others.
  • Get professional advice about your specific circumstances, the career you are interested in and the types of workplace adjustments that may be possible.
  • Remember that many graduates with disability succeed in their chosen career. This is often made possible due to innovative, simple but well planned workplace adjustments.

For more information

  • 'Choosing Your Path. Disclosure: It's A Personal Decision: This resource has been developed for students and employees with disabilities and also for employers, educators and support services. The resource provides information about:
    • options and pathways a person with a disability has when deciding to disclose their disability
    • the benefits and disadvantages of disclosing, as well as some key considerations to achieving effective disclosure
    • the rights, roles and responsibilities of employers, educators and support services when a person discloses a disability in post secondary education and employment.
  • Education to Employment: A website with facts, tips and advice to support a successful move from post secondary
  • Get ready for Study and Work: A website with information about identifying and implementing reasonable adjustments in the work environment.
  • Employment and graduates with a disability: Gradlink website: This web page outlines the barriers and possible strategies to achieve good employment outcomes.
  • Australian Human Rights Commission: An excellent overview about reasonable adjustments in employment with examples of adjustments and reference to case law.
  • Reasonable adjustments: This section of the Australian Network on Disability his website provides an overview of reasonable adjustments in the workplace.
  • JobAccess website: Your Workplace: The JobAccess website provides information about identifying and implementing reasonable adjustments in the work environment.
  • Rights and Responsibilities: Your rights and responsibilities, and the rights and responsibilities of your employer. You should know about disclosure and privacy, discrimination, occupational health and safety, reasonable adjustment and workers compensation.
  • Australian Employers Network on Disability website: Australian Employers Network on Disability is a member funded organisation that promotes and supports businesses that encourage people with a disability as employees, customers and suppliers. The website provides an employer directory of businesses that have been considered to have vision and commitment to the employment of people with disabilities.
  • Willing and Able Mentoring program (WAM): The WAM program involves matching current uni students with disabilities (mentees) with people currently working in their discipline or a related field of endeavour (mentors). WAM is open to all students, however priority will be given to later year students.
    If matched with a mentor, you will be expected to participate in 6-8 face-to-face meetings over 2-3 months
    These meetings are held at or near the mentor’s workplace and are designed to provide information about:
    -  the industry, professional life and career development
    - work role expectations
    - how organisations advertise positions
    - job search skills (for example, developing your resume, interview and networking skills)
    - (if applicable), the graduate recruitment process in that organisation or industry
    - when and how to disclose details of your disability.
    Your mentor will be appropriately trained and briefed prior to the first meeting.
    Please note: Mentors do not find you a job and may not be able to provide you with certain information or access to some parts of their organisation for privacy reasons.  Please see the WAM registration form (PDF, 318.61 KB) for more information.