We are thrilled to announce the launch of Alumni Connect, Australia’s first alumni network for talented university graduates with disability. The network will connect over 2200 alumni who have taken part in our award-winning Stepping Into Internship Program over the past 18 years, with employers who want to broaden their recruitment pool.
The Alumni Connect network will provide our graduates with further opportunities to fast-track their careers by building relationships with employers, attending development events, networking and gaining confidence in the workplace.
Alumni Connect also presents an exciting opportunity for our members who are dealing with a tight labour market and are looking for highly skilled employees across a broad range of industries.
Launching the Alumni Connect network would not have been possible without the support of our founding partners, Deloitte, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, QBE, Life Without Barriers and Acciona. We are grateful for their vision and commitment which aligns to our goal of connecting Australian organisations to more people with disability and creating a disability confident Australia.
“As a Founding Partner of the AND’s inaugural Alumni Network we’re pleased to be part of this important initiative which takes practical steps to address the unemployment rate of Australians with disability, which at 10% is more than double that of people without disability,” said Shiona Watson, Chief People Officer, QBE.
“Access to the Alumni Network, employment programs, professional development and support pathways are foundational to supporting people with disability thrive in their careers and provides organisations like ours access to a network of talented people and future leaders.”
Deloitte’s Chief People and Purpose Officer Pip Dexter said, “Deloitte is proud to be an inaugural partner of Australian Network on Disability’s Alumni Connect network, supporting Australia’s future leaders with disability.”
“Disability inclusion matters, and we all have the opportunity and responsibility to build inclusive and accessible workplaces and communities. Alumni Connect is a positive step in providing job opportunities, professional development and networking opportunities for talented graduates with disability.”
The Stepping Into Internship program recruits university students and recent graduates who meet the employer’s job description. The students complete an internship with the employer, working with leaders to gain practical experience and confidence in the workplace.
“The launch of the Alumni Network is an important endeavour in the employment landscape. It will provide employers who value the diversity of the human experience with direct access to a significant pool of talented people,” said Rania Saab, Australian Network on Disability Director & Stepping Into Alumni.
“This is a mark of the success of the Stepping Into Program which started in 2005 with 7 students and organisations and has grown to encompass 229 organisations and 2248 students.”
Rania, who is now a solicitor at Legal Aid NSW, was one of those original seven students.
“When I started university and saw the medical model of disability play out in real time – by that I mean that I experienced exclusion from education, an unwillingness by the law faculty at university to make adjustments to even out the learning field and was subjected to comments such as “why are you studying law? You’re not going to be able to hear in a court room” by an ear, nose and throat specialist – my confidence took a hit, and I had major doubts about my ability to be able to do the work that solicitors are required to do. I didn’t want to fail on the big stage… that is, if I could even get a job.
“Participating in the Stepping Into Program restored my self-belief and confidence. The practical on-the-job training reminded me that I can do the tasks that tally up to being a lawyer. Sometimes I might need to do things differently than other people but that’s okay.”
We invite our members to join Alumni Connect by registering before 18 March 2023
Our Stepping Into Internship alumni can join us and their peers by registering before 18 March 2023