Presentation on theme: "ACCESS TO EMPLOYABILITY Preparing for work: Dyslexic undergraduates making the transition into employment Fiona White & Richard Mendez."— Presentation transcript:
ACCESS TO EMPLOYABILITY Preparing for work: Dyslexic undergraduates making the transition into employment Fiona White & Richard Mendez
Investigate the need for an employability programme at the University of Leicester for students with disabilities; Discuss the programme devised by the University of Leicester Discussion Aims of the Workshop
Background What information is there about how dyslexic students perform in the job market and do they remain in employment? What are dyslexic students’ main concerns about employability and employment? How do Higher Education Institutions and students address these concerns?
Research from the UK’s Association for Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) Disabilities Task Group Improved parity in the employment destinations of graduates with disabilities and non-disabled graduates in 2007 But disparities still exist ! Background
AGCAS’ research showed that in 2007: 49.9% of graduates with a disability were in full-time employment, compared with 55.6% of non-disabled graduates 7.8% of graduates with a disability were unemployed, compared with just 5.6% of non-disabled graduates The UK National Context
2007 Destinations of graduates with a disability compared with non-disabled graduates in percentages (%)
Statistics appear relatively positive for graduates with disabilities AGCAS reports that the statistics masks underlying issues Previously shrinking gap between both sets of graduates, beginning to widen again Anecdotal evidence from the University of Leicester – some graduates with dyslexia struggle to keep their jobs long-term The UK National Context
2007 graduate destinations data specific to University of Leicester graduates 46% of University of Leicester graduates with a disability were in full-time employment compared with 51.9% of all other Leicester graduates that year 11% of University of Leicester’s graduates with a disability were assumed unemployed compared with only 4.7% of Leicester’s non-disabled graduates Big disparity ! The University of Leicester Context
2007 Destinations of University of Leicester graduates with a disability compared with University of Leicester non-disabled graduates in percentages (%)
Worryingly University of Leicester graduates with a disability, twice as likely to be unemployed than their non-disabled counterparts Also, fared poorly when compared to the national equivalent 2007 national figure for graduates with a disability registered unemployed 7.8%, compared with University of Leicester’s 11% The University of Leicester Context
In 2008, University of Leicester undertook qualitative research to gauge the views of students with disabilities Three focus groups conducted - share views on employability and employment prospects Majority of students in focus groups were dyslexic Focus Group Research
FOCUS GROUP 1 Many had no prior work experience – cited time management issues Majority had never compiled a CV Majority had little knowledge about the employability provision provided by the University Analysis of Focus Group Results
FOCUS GROUP 2 and 3 When questioned about their concerns about graduate employment 1. Employers’ negative perception of disabilities 2. Obtaining a job 3. Managing their dyslexia in the world of work 4. Adhering to deadlines and meetings in the workplace 5. Being misunderstood (written communication) Analysis of Focus Group Results
From the analysis: Students with disabilities might not be engaging in usual channels of employability provision Thus, might be disadvantaged upon graduation compared to their non-disabled counterparts Students’ feedback suggested that a forum for open discussion about employability and disability was needed These conclusions lead to the creation of Access to Employability Rationale for an Employability Programme
Work-related programme addressing key issues from the focus group results Exclusive to students with a disability and commenced autumn 2008 Philosophy: empower students with disabilities by building confidence and providing practical work experience What is Access to Employability?
2-hour interactive workshop addressing key issues such as disclosure Employer representative talks about his own experiences managing his dyslexia whilst establishing a successful career Pre-arranged 15-day staggered internship with local employers from different industries Features of Access to Employability
Structure of Access to Employability Initial registration on to Access to Employability 2-hour interactive workshop TOPICS: 1.Disclosure 2.Barriers to employment 3.Employer talk 4. Improving employability 5. CV advice Sign up to 15-day staggered work placements Pre-placement consultation to help students maximise the experience Student commences work placement and access to e-resources
Difficult to evaluate impact without ascertaining the employment destinations data of all participants when they graduate Until then, rely on participants’ feedback collected via consultations and questionnaires Feedback was positive Some constructive criticism (which was welcomed) Evaluating Access to Employability
Positives: Built their confidence and knowledge Participating in an internship The employer representative talking about his own experiences of dyslexia was reassuring and uplifting Felt comfortable discussing sensitive matters Evaluating Access to Employability
Constructive criticisms: 2-hour workshops, whilst enjoyable, arduous and exhausting Workshops should focus more time on the topic of overcoming barriers to employment Workshops should cover job interview techniques and presentation skills Limited number of 15-day internships, more variety needed Evaluating Access to Employability
Current and Future Developments AccessAbility Centre now has a dedicated careers advisor on-site In-depth research on a larger pool of students via questionnaires More work placement opportunities Separate session focused on job interview techniques
Discussion What information is there about how dyslexic students perform in the job market and do they remain in employment? What are dyslexic students’ main concerns about employability and employment? How do Higher Education institutions and students address these concerns?
Bibliography Hirst, A. (2008) The Changing Legal Context, Continuing Professional Development and the Promotion of Inclusive Pedagogy for Disabled Students, Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, vol.3, pp Knight, P. & Yorke, M. (2004) Learning, Curriculum and Employability in Higher Education, London, RoutledgeFalmer Leacy, A. & Tunnah, E. (2009) ‘What Happens Next? A Report on the First Destinations of 2007 Disabled Graduates’, Sheffield, AGCAS.
Contact Details Fiona White, Dyslexia Study Advisor Richard Mendez, Work-related Learning Tutor