Fifty University and TAFE students with disability in four Victorian regional communities will benefit from a new project funded by the Victorian Government.
The Australian Network on Disability (AND) was selected to deliver the project and has launched Connect50, which will see businesses across Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Latrobe Valley offer paid internships to 50 tertiary students by 2020.
‘Connect50 puts power in the hands of employers to progress the economic participation of people with disability and discover ways to build disability confidence and capability across their business,’ said Suzanne Colbert AM, CEO of the Australian Network on Disability.
‘This project represents a unique opportunity, not only for the 50 students with disability who’ll gain an enhanced pathway to employment, but for employers to demonstrate their commitment to inclusion, tap into a pool of talented candidates with disability, and realise the benefits of a more diverse workforce.’
AND will work closely with each employer to identify their recruitment goals, eliminate potential barriers and equip them with tools and guidance to effectively recruit and support interns with disability. A shortlist of candidates will be provided by AND to each employer based on their suitability for the role, with internships commencing in Summer 2018/19, Winter 2019, Summer 2019/20 and Winter 2020.
The Victorian economic participation plan for people with disability recognises that more needs to be done to address barriers and discrimination experienced by people with disability. Only 50% of graduates with disability are employed compared to 76% of graduates without disability. Through Connect50, students will gain vital work experience and businesses will meet talented people with disability who are potential future employees.
‘We know from the enormous success of our Stepping Into internship program the many and sustainable benefits of a demand-led approach to employment of people with disability. The onus is on employers to seize this opportunity to cultivate a more diverse and inclusive workplace and actively contribute to a more inclusive Victorian economy,’ said Ms Colbert.
The initiative is part of the Victorian Government’s Every opportunity: Victoria’s economic participation plan for people with disability 2018-2020.