When Victoria Police signed up to the Australian Network on Disability’s Stepping Into internship program, they saw it as a great opportunity to build disability confidence across the workforce and allow staff to strengthen their approach to inclusive leadership.
The Department was excited at the prospect of helping a student with disability become job-ready. Having seen how many young people had entered the workforce unaware of the reality of working life, they felt they could offer their intern a real understanding of what it takes to forge and maintain a professional career.
Through Stepping Into, they recruited Nathan Noblet, a 22-year-old Deakin University student of Commerce and Information Systems who was pursuing a career in Forensic Accounting. He was looking for some hands-on accounting experience and was thrilled to be matched with Victoria Police’s Corporate Finance Department.
“I applied for the Stepping Into program as I wanted to gain some experience in the accounting field. I found that I was being screened out of other programs as their recruitment practices relied on testing, such as personality quizzes, which can disadvantage people with Asperger’s Syndrome and other disabilities on the autism spectrum,” said Nathan.
On Nathan’s first day with Victoria Police, he was formally set up with a buddy who would provide individual support for his six-week internship. During his time in the Department, he enjoyed a wide range of accounts payable tasks, from verifying invoices, to data analysis and reconciliations. Welcomed by a highly supportive team, he felt confident to ask questions and impressed them with his persistence and keen eye for detail.
By the end of the internship, it was clear to the team that Nathan had added real value.
“We were able to see firsthand the unique skills that Nathan was able to bring to an area which requires high attention to detail,” said Mark Cassar, Acting Manager, Shared Services Branch of the Department.
“It was a great experience for all parties. It provided Nathan with a professional network within the public sector and gave him the confidence to know that upon graduation a mainstream career was well and truly a pathway he could aspire to.”
The team were so impressed with Nathan’s commitment and skills that they urged him to apply for the 2017 Victorian Public Sector Graduate Recruitment and Development Scheme (GRADS). As a result, Nathan now works in a more complex role at Victoria Police and contributes to equitable employment initiatives as an active member of their Employee Accessibility and Advocacy Network.
“As a person with disability, having the chance to come to work each day in a workplace that values inclusion of workers with a disability is something that has given me great confidence. I am sure that the advantages that come with my disability have created value and I am sure other interns with a disability will deliver similar benefits,” said Nathan.
About Stepping Into
Stepping Into is a national internship program run by the Australian Network on Disability. It matches skilled university students with disability to roles offered by organisations actively seeking to employ people with disability as part of their recruitment strategy and in their graduate programs.
Since Stepping Into started in 2005, more than 1,200 students have gained internships with over 110 organisations across Australia. It has become a valued talent pipeline and an effective foundation from which organisations can change attitudes, build disability confidence, improve hiring practices, enhance inclusive leadership and cultivate a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. A rewarding experience for the intern and the host, 96 per cent of Stepping Into supervisors said they’d volunteer to do it again.