Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Tagged: disability

Living Successfully with Psychosis

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📥  Diversity, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

This year I had the privilege of providing career support for Neal who has just completed his MA in International Security. It's not easy to live with a condition like psychosis and yet despite setbacks in his life, Neal recently started as a consultant for Alten. He kindly agreed to be interviewed and this is his story.

From the age of 14, I had started to feel unwell and then one day I found myself climbing on the school roof – I was completely deluded and didn’t know where I was. It was like watching the TV programme Quantam Leap or The Truman Show film with Jim Carey. Medics had no idea what caused this as I had never taken drugs, or alcohol and I was diagnosed as having psychosis. Fortunately, I didn’t suffer from any hallucinations, but I ended up being hospitalised for the next six months. I found myself being one of the first people to try Risperidone – an anti-psychotic drug which had great success. I guess during this time I was incredibly lucky and had a great childhood. I was one of seven children with very supportive parents but it was really hard for my parents to see me so ill. I was taken off the medications but then relapsed again at 16 and then 18. But despite everything, I still achieved 4 A levels ABCC from a State School. I somehow knew that Maths would open doors for the future. It was my best subject and I thought it would impress people. I was really happy to get to University of Bath to study Mathematics and Computing from 1998-2002. I spent my year placement at Motorola and then they sponsored me for my second year and final year which was excellent. Somehow, I had managed to get through university without telling anyone about my psychosis. I didn’t tell anyone because I was so worried about the stigma and how I would be received. I survived because I had the support of a long-term girlfriend and by getting a lot of sleep as the drugs made me feel so tired. I wasn’t sporty so didn’t do much exercise, but looking back realised that probably would have helped me. Anyway, I just paced myself and was glad to have got a 2:2. I was also very fortunate that I didn’t have any psychotic episodes during this time.

It wasn’t until the final week of my final year that I told my personal tutor about my mental health as I had asked him to be my referee for MBDA.  The tutor actually put on the reference – “this student is extremely good at keeping secrets!” MBDA (part of BAE Systems) offered me a job on their graduate scheme and I worked my way up to principal engineer on their missile systems. I had disclosed my disability when I joined and it had taken 11 months to get my clearance which came with certain restrictions on how I could work, but the organisation was always very supportive and wanted me to do well. I worked on some really interesting and diverse projects including an internship for RUSI (a big think tank).

Suddenly out of the blue in 2006 I had another psychotic episode and this time diagnosed as having Schizo-affective disorder with manic type, now labelled as Recurring Psychosis. I guess it may have been kicked started by the fact I had been under a lot of stress outside of work, and also my drug dosage had been reduced yet again. This time I was so bad that I couldn’t even look after myself and I was eventually sectioned 24/7 for six months. In this breakdown and other later breakdowns, I suffered with hallucinations and delusions.  It wasn’t a great time in my life and it was hard for my family who visited me regularly. I have never taken drugs (other than my medication), never smoked and never drank and yet here I was again.

My company were great and they paid me for those six months and then I went back to work. I worked successfully for another five years and I was still on medication but I hardly had any time off. Then in December 2011, I fell ill again and I just couldn’t get well and was sectioned three or four times and by October 2014 I lost my MOD clearance which was devastating as it meant I lost my job. Looking back this time, the doctors believe that I ended up with a chemical imbalance, as I was now exercising a lot and spending a lot of time in the gym and somehow this had diluted how the drug worked.

I was finally put on a new drug which is working really well and appealed to the MOD on my clearance but I couldn’t get it back. So in 2015/16, I decided to take some time out and went travelling.

I thought about what I wanted to do and realised that I had always had an interest in military science and I think my time at RUSI had inspired me on that as I would often attend lectures. I had always enjoyed reading magazines such as Foreign Affairs. It was a friend who recommended the Masters in International Security at University of Bath and so I thought “why not!”. I mainly did it out of interest and really enjoyed it although I found the essays hard though because with my STEM background I didn’t have that much experience. My dissertation was on The Ethical Mandate of Autonomous weapon systems in a UK context. If I ever manage to go back into the Defence industry, then I think my Masters will prove to be extremely useful.

What’s different about being at the University of Bath again for a Masters? Well, this time I decided to disclose my disability and it’s been really great to have support. I saw a Counsellor from Student Services every week who helped me to deal with any stress/anxiety I may have had on the course, although I do know that stress is not related to any relapse I might have in the future. I also used the Skills Centre and had my essays checked. As well as this I have used the Careers Service - a lot! I attended a workshop on Developing Resilience to Support your Career run by Careers and Student Services and found this particularly useful. I attended a webinar on To Disclose or Not to Disclose your disability which included information on where to find disability friendly employers. My personal view from having a mental health issue is to disclose after you get a job offer! However, I appreciate that for every individual this will be different. I also had several one to one appointments with a careers adviser. This was useful as I had thought about going on another graduate training scheme but realised through the guidance interviews that I had a load of experience and needed to find a higher-level role. As well as discussing career options, I used the career meeting to seek advice on improving my CV which was actually a challenge to do as a mature student and so the advice was useful. I eventually decided that my career goal was to be a consultant or chief engineer with a particular technical specialism. My longer-term career goals, well I have even thought about going into politics! I really admire those people going into politics later in life even if I might not agree with their political views. I’ve even thought about doing another degree in my spare time.

So, my advice to anyone who has a disability is to get the support you need but also get involved. This time round I joined the Debating Society and the Philosophy Club as well as took part in activities within POLIS attending extracurricular seminars on campus and also at BRLSI in Queen Square.  Don’t be secretive either about your condition. I don’t publicise my disability but I will talk about it if asked. The way people view mental health conditions is changing and I think high profile people like Stephen Fry help to do this. It’s really important when things get tough to look back at your previous achievements and remember what you have accomplished. Despite my condition, I have achieved a lot – a 2:1 for my final year project and I am very proud of my French GCSE. And just remember there is nothing wrong in being ill for a year – sometimes that just happens, or taking a gap year to recover. Don’t see these things as a fail – it will in the long term help you to do better grade wise. Repeat a year too if that’s the best thing for you. Most importantly, stick to your medication.

After CV checks/applications checks, and support I ended up with two job offers and had to book another careers appointment to help me with deciding which job! I have just started working with Alten – a multi-national software engineering consultancy and currently working for Rolls Royce designing engines for private jets – really interesting work. So as I start on another career journey, I hope my story will encourage you to do the same!

(For information on support offered by Student Services visit the Welfare and Wellbeing Advice Team. Drop in sessions run daily.) 

 

Thinking about a Career in Teaching Part 2

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📥  Advice, Sector Insight, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Part 2 of our “Thinking about a Career in Teaching” blog focuses today on Schools Direct route (SCITT), Teach First, PGCE (FE), resources and support for potential teachers with a disability. LATEST NEWS! Find out about a scheme to reimburse student loan repayments!

Schools Direct – School-centred initial teacher training (SCITT)

A SCITT is an accredited body with links to the Dfe and where groups of schools get together to provide on the job training.  A SCITT will often offer every secondary subject if they can because of the scale of the operation. They also tend to target mature students if it is expensive to live in the area and difficult to attract young graduates. All trainees are called Associate Teachers to get the respect and all courses are registered on UCAS with salaried and non-salaried SCITTs available.

One important thing to check when looking for places is the actual number of places available as if a SCITT is advertising history or PE, they may only have the one place. For further information on SCITT see here.

Teach First

The Teach First route is now pretty well known and is fully funded and salaried and available in 11 different areas. It also has partnering organisations such as the Navy and PwC. Target areas are rural and coastal as these are the areas where it has been difficult to recruit teachers.  Teach First will cover Early Years, Primary and Secondary. On this programme you would be teaching curriculum subjects but the different to other schemes is that you do not necessarily need a degree in that subject as Teach First will also consider any relevant A Levels.

The advice for students with non-curriculum subject is to ring the TF admissions so for example if you are studying a humanities subject you may be advised to apply for English.

You will currently need a 2:1 and 300 UCAS points but UCAS points are likely to be dropped very shortly. It is hoped that this will encourage more students from widening participation backgrounds to apply who may have been taught in TF schools and are inspired to teach but may have lower grades. It’s important to note that although there is minimum criteria, no-one is told not to apply. The PGDE is fully funded by TF which is a school based programme, with some teaching days at a university. New recruits are also allocated TF mentors. This programme awards QTS after year 1 and then PGDE and NQT status the following year.

Whilst you are on the programme you have the opportunity to do Insight Days in partner organisations in the First Year, and in the Second Year –years 2 week internship offered with partner organisations.

If you are applying in your penultimate year of degree then it is possible to be offered 1st choice in location. Interesting statistics for the Teach First Scheme show that 60% stay on to teach and after 15 years 80% are back in teaching. Generally TF teachers will get promotion faster within their TF schools. For more information see Teach First. https://www.teachfirst.org.uk/

Teach First will be doing a presentation on 14th November and you can speak to them on the parade on the 9th and 14th November. Check www.myfuture.bath.ac.uk for more details.

PGCE (FE)

If you are considering teaching in an FE college you can take a PGCE which leads to QTLS but not QTS. Most students on this PGCE have a job or placement prior to doing the course. If not, help is given to find a placement. If you are interested in this qualification you would apply Direct and not through UCAS. Graduates who hold a third degree classification may be able to enter this course if they have a good reason for their final mark.

Concentration in FE colleges is on the 16-18 age group so you will not get experience of the 14-16 age group.  If you are considering maybe doing guest lecturers at an FE College in addition to another job then you won’t need a PGCE and can simply apply to do a six day course.

Psychology graduates have more opportunities to teach in FE. You would normally accept a lecturing post and then be trained.

It is important to note though that career prospects in FE are less well paid than a teacher and less secure.

Latest news - Bursaries and English Teachers Required

From September 2017 there will be more apprenticeship routes for students as Trainee Lecturers at the college or apprentice teachers. Bursaries available £9K for English. The reason behind this is that many 16 year olds have to redo English or Maths and therefore have to stay in education so there is a larger requirement for lecturers in this area.

Resources and Support for Potential Teachers with a Disability

There are 6.9 million disabled people of working age.  9% of teaching applications were from people declaring a disability, yet less than 1% of the teaching workforce has a disability.

Often students won’t declare on an application form and declare it afterwards to the admissions officer or personal tutor whilst on placement. However, students are really encouraged to declare any disability on the UCAS application form so that adaptions can be made for the interview if required, but also any reasonable adjustments when considering the teaching aspect and the placements.

There are specific forums to support disabled students such as the Disability Teaching Network Other resources produced by the Careers professional body AGCAS are available to support potential teachers with a disability. If you would like information on these then please do book to see a Careers Adviser by emailing careers@bath.ac.uk

International Students

International students can get on to PGCE courses. There are also cases of international students taking course in Independent schools. Perseverance pays off as there is a case of an international student convincing school that they could sponsor her and they did.

Scottish Students

If doing the PGCE in England, when they start, they need to contact the Scottish body so that they can do the QTS in Scotland afterwards.

Reimbursing Student Loan Repayments

The DfE have just announced details of a pilot programme for reimbursing the student loan repayments made by some teachers in the first ten years after they gain Qualified Teacher Status, with the intention of improving recruitment and retention is areas where this is most challenging.

In order to be able to claim reimbursements a teacher must meet these criteria:

·         Have been awarded QTS between 2014 and 2019

·         Be employed by a maintained secondary school, a special school or a secondary phase academy/free school

·         Have taught languages, physics, chemistry, biology or computer science for at least 50% of their contracted hours during the year they are claiming for

·         Be in a school within one of the 25 participating local authorities

·         Still be teaching when you apply for reimbursement

The participating authorities are: Barnsley; Blackpool; Bracknell Forest; Bradford; Cambridgeshire; Derby; Derbyshire; Doncaster; Halton; Knowsley; Luton; Middlesbrough; Norfolk; North East Lincolnshire; North Yorkshire; Northamptonshire; Northumberland; Oldham; Peterborough; Portsmouth; Salford; Sefton; St Helens; Stoke-on-Trent; Suffolk.

Full details are available here.

If you would like to discuss any of the teaching routes with a Careers Adviser do book an appointment through www.myfuture.bath.ac.uk

On a final note!

This blog was written with the latest information on teaching that is currently available. However, teaching routes and different schemes are constantly changing so if you are reading this blog several months after it was published then do remember to check out the government website for any future changes! Get into Teaching 

 

Getting a graduate job or placement when you have a non-visible disability

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📥  Advice, Diversity, Labour Market Intelligence, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

 

Applying for graduate jobs can be daunting, but when you have a disability, this can sometimes add to the stress of applying for graduate jobs. This blog aims to allay some fears and also encourage you with tips, advice and information on where you can find help and support to succeed in the graduate labour market.

Defining a non-visible disability

It’s probably a good idea at this point to define what we mean by a non-visible disability. These are basically disabilities which are not immediately apparent. They are also sometimes referred to as “invisible” or “hidden” disabilities. An interesting fact is that one in every two people has some kind of health condition -this may not necessarily equate to a disability under the Equality Act definition but it does mean that there are a lot of people living with things that are not immediately obvious to the eye.

Some of the non-visible disabilities that many of us have so to name a few:

ADHD, Dyspraxia, Deafness, Anxiety, Dyslexia, Chronic Fatigue/ME, Coeliac Disease, Narcolepsy, Repetitive Strain Injury, Tinnitus..

Its worth knowing at this point that there are therefore huge numbers of people working successfully in the workplace with non-visible disabilities.  For example, how many of you know which non-visible disability these well know people from the entertainment and political arena have?

George Clooney     George_Clooney-4_The_Men_Who_Stare_at_Goats_TIFF09_(cropped)

Lady Gaga

Lady-gaga-icon-thatgrapejuiceKylie   Kylie Minogue

381px-Theresa_May_MPTheresa May

Donald Trump                    Donald_Trump_September_3_2015

Daniel Radcliffe Daniel Radcliffe

(answers will be put up on our Careers Facebook Page in a few days time!)

So many people have a non-visible disability but they have successful careers. So how might they have done this?

Become an expert!

What’s important when applying for a job is that you become an “expert” on your disability. It’s important that you understand how your disability affects you and the adjustments you would need to work well in an organisation. So think about what would make your life easier. This may range from flexible working, working from home occasionally, specialist equipment, line management support – a preference for having clear goals and regular meetings to check progress are some of the things to think about.

The question an employer will always want to ask is “What is your disability and how will it affect your ability to do the job?”

Once you feel comfortable with the above and have thought about your needs, and the support you might ask for to succeed in the job, think then about your strengths.

Know Your Strengths

It’s so important to know what you can offer an employer, so spend some time thinking about your personal attributes and your knowledge and experience. For example, a person with dyslexia, has often learned to be very organised because short term memory can sometimes be an issue.

If you suffer from Chronic Fatigue/ME for example, again you may have worked out how to be extremely organised during your degree to meet deadlines and cope with tiredness. You may also have developed strong resilience and empathy skills as a result of your condition.

Think how you have achieved on your degree course and how this could be transferred to the workplace. Perhaps some of the techniques or tools you have used during your academic study would be easily transferable to the world of work. If you are finding it difficult to articulate your strengths, do come and speak to a Careers Adviser.

Finding Jobs

You may find it useful to target disability friendly employers. Look for particular accreditations such as Disability Confident employer or the Two Ticks. disability_confident_employer_roller

EmployAbility www.employ-ability.org.uk is a not-for-profit organisation that provides support and advice for students and graduates with disabilities. Employ-Ability also runs a wide range of internships and graduate recruitment programmes on behalf of many of the most prestigious and progressive blue-chip and public sector organisations.

When or if to tell an employer about your disability

“So how do I get a job and when, if, and how should I tell an employer about my disability?”
When to disclose has probably been the most popular query I have had this year as a Careers Adviser covering students with disabilities.

Disclosure to employers is complicated and a challenge, because you don't always know exactly what you'll be doing in that job, and whether your condition will be relevant. As many disabilities aren’t obvious to people, students may also find it tempting not to let a potential employer know in advance. However, there may be many benefits to disclosing and particularly early in the recruitment process. One recent graduate I met at a Careers Adviser’s training event in London last week said that he really hadn’t wanted anyone to know he had dyspraxia/dyslexia and when applying for the Civil Service Fast Stream, he chose not disclose the first time round and then failed on one of the final tests. The second time round he was advised to disclose, was given extra time and support and he was successful in his application. His biggest regret is not doing this earlier!

Firstly, if you are not sure, you can decide anytime whether to disclose or not. However, the important thing to bear in mind is that you will not come under the protection of the Equality Act 2010 until you do. For more information on this take a look at https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/equality-act-2010/what-equality-act

or Diversity Link information.

At the Psychometric Test, Application or Interview stage?

If you do decide to disclose think about when you might. You may decide if you have dyslexia or suffer with anxiety or ADHD, that it would be good to tell an employer of your disability prior to sitting any psychometric tests as you may need to ask for additional time and in some cases you may need to give the employer time to consider alternative tests in order to measure your capability to do the job. A key tip here is think about telling the employer sooner rather than later as preparation work would need to be done to best support you.

You may decide to disclose at the application stage as  companies may select you then on meeting the essential criteria required to do the job. You may decide that you would prefer to apply and then if shortlisted disclose then. It may be that you need some reasonable adjustments for the interview in order to compete successfully.

You may decide that actually, you will wait to see if you get a job offer and then speak to an employer about support you might need in the workplace.

Some graduates decide to wait and see and will start working before making a decision to disclose.

It’s really up to you and what you feel is the best time if at all. If you would like help on making this decision then please do book to see me – just email me - Melanie Wortham or careers@bath.ac.uk. If you are leaving Bath then we can do a Skype appointment.

Links to information and Advice

There are many non-profit organisations and charities who also offer advice and support. Some of these are:

EmployAbility (specialist organisation working with disabled students and graduates)
Disability Rights UK (includes a useful careers guide)
RADAR (disability rights organisation)
Leonard Cheshire Disability (the UK's leading charity supporting disabled people)
Great with disability
Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB)
Action on Hearing Loss (formerly Royal National Institute for Deaf People)
MENCAP (for people with learning disabilities)
MIND (for people with mental illness)
British Dyslexia Association
The Dyspraxia Foundation
Narcolepsy Association
Interview and Assessment Centre Preparation

Resources at the Careers Service

We have many resources in the Careers Service to support you.

Check out our website http://www.bath.ac.uk/students/careers/

See our selection of DVDs on preparing for interviews and assessment centres http://www.bath.ac.uk/students/careers/information-resources/catalogue.bho/index.html

Book a practice interview to help you prepare for those difficult question and alleviate some anxiety

Try out our video interview software Interview Stream

So my final thought for today is play to your strengths and take your time to prepare for the recruitment process, finding out exactly what is involved and how you can be a success in that job.

For further information and support do contact us by popping into our new facilities in the Virgil Building on Manvers St or sending us an email at careers@bath.ac.uk.

 

Melanie Wortham

Careers Adviser

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Update on Careers Provision for Students with Disabilities

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📥  Advice, Diversity, Uncategorized

As many of you are probably aware the Careers Service has now moved down to the Virgil Building in Manvers Street and we are now open!   So, I thought now would be a very good time to talk about the provision that we offer to all of our disabled students – so this would cover anyone with physical, mental health and learning needs such as dyslexia and dyspraxia. To make sense of our provision I have split this into General Careers Provision and Additional Careers Provision for Disabled Students.

Careers photo

 

General Careers Service Provision

You may have already seen your Faculty or Department Careers Adviser who will deliver some Department-specific activities on campus. Some of our employer talks and promotional activities will also still take place on campus.

However, most of our Careers Service activities have now moved down to the Virgil Building in Manvers Street where you can book Quick Queries and can also book longer appointments through our reception down there as well as attend skills workshops. In VB we also have a number of resources and free leaflets and information booklets which you might find useful. So when you are down in Manvers St do pop in to see the facilities! We are located on the 2nd level near the main reception so a lift will shortly be installed at the main entrance.

To book an appointment in VB just go to https://myfuture.bath.ac.uk

pic of disabilities

Additional Careers Service Provision for Disabled Students

The University recognises that some students would benefit from having careers support still on campus. So in addition to all of the above, my new role as a Careers Adviser is to provide exactly this on campus and I am here to support you during your time with us and in the year after you graduate to ensure that you reach the career goals that you are looking for. So what exactly does that mean?

Appointments on campus

I am based on campus for three days a week and therefore I am able to offer you appointments here. You can either phone our reception to book one of the slots on a Tuesday or Wednesday by ringing 01225 386009 (just let our enquiry team know that you are a disabled student), or you can email me (Melanie Wortham) and I can book these for you. If you are unable to make those times, then I have some flexibility on Mondays to offer you alternative appointments. So basically, we are offering you additional careers provision which will hopefully be useful in busy semesters. In vacations you will also have the support of a careers adviser, and can access appointments remotely by Skype or telephone if you prefer.

 

So why would you come and see me?!

If you just have a short query such as how to explain something on your CV, or wanted to know something about a particular occupation, then book a 15 minute appointment – that is perfectly fine. Or it may be that you are not sure of what you want to do and a 45 minute appointment may be more appropriate.

Here are 10 reasons students’ book to see a Careers Adviser:-

Get advice on their CV and applications
No idea or little idea on what you might like to do in the future
Get some ideas on work experience, and where to look
Discuss placements, internships, voluntary work
Need some help with interviews – we offer practice interviews
Job search
Looking to go into something completely out of the degree area and need advice
Being a mature student and looking for a career change
Considering Further Study
Advice on psychometric tests and assessment centres

I hope the above has given you some idea on the sorts of help and advice that we offer. However, if there are any other careers related issues you would like to discuss, then please just email me and come and chat about it! I very much look forward to meeting some of you over the coming months and years.

 

China Disability Scholarship!

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📥  Diversity, Internships, Work Experience

Applications for the 2016 CRCC Asia and the British Council China Disability Scholarship are now open.


Now running for a fourth year, the scholarship was established in January 2013 to offer students with a disability the opportunity to participate in CRCC Asia’s award-winning China Internship Program. With the support of the British Council in China, CRCC Asia is able to offer two fully-funded places on the 2016 China Disability Scholarship, one in Beijing and one in Shanghai.
The Disability Scholarship Program is run in conjunction with the British Council in China and is specifically designed for academically excellent students with a disability. The successful candidates will undertake a two month internship working with the British Council in Beijing or Shanghai in summer 2016. The interns will live in the centre of each city, gaining transferable business skills and hands-on experience whilst working in an international setting. They will also benefit from CRCC Asia’s full social program with cultural activities, Chinese language classes, and professional networking events. Upon completion of the program, the students will be able to boost their CVs with their international internship experience, stand out from the crowd and prepare for their career ahead.

The recipients of the 2015 Disability Scholarship were Laura Gillhespy (Beijing) and Jasmine Rahman (Shanghai), graduates of the University of York and Durham University respectively. Both Laura and Jasmine recorded their time in China through weekly blogs. Since completing their internships, both Laura and Jasmine have returned to China to pursue their careers. To find out how they got on, you can read Laura’s blog here and Jasmine’s blog here.

Application deadline is 1st April 2016. 

 

Asking for reasonable adjustments...

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📥  Diversity

GUEST BLOG: Blind in Business is a charity set up to support students and graduates who are blind or have partial sight into employment  Jessica Luke is their Graduate Coordinator and has shared her personal insights as a visually impaired job hunter along with practical tips on requesting reasonable adjustments at work. Blind in Business will also be delivering a talk on campus in Semester 2, details will be available on MyFuture nearer the time. For more information about Blind in Business, please visit their website.

Blind In Business

As a visually impaired graduate and job-hunter, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from employers during the recruitment process. I’d heard of the term reasonable adjustments, but I didn’t really know what this meant in practice.  Google says that reasonable adjustments are changes that employers make to enable disabled workers to work without being at a disadvantage to others. But it’s hard to know which adjustments are reasonable in the eyes of an employer and how willing an employer will be to make changes when they could just employ someone else.

From my experience of the graduate recruitment process, a majority of employers were prepared to allow alterations to the process that enabled me to perform equally with other candidates.

I asked for extra time in psychometric tests and for mobility support at my assessment centre and I was allowed to use my laptop instead of a flipchart during an assessed presentation. As long as I could justify the need for support, graduate employers were willing to help.

Here are a few things that are worth knowing about reasonable adjustments:

1.     Don’t be afraid to ask for adaptations that allow you be assessed equally with other candidates.

While it’s essential to present a can-do attitude to a potential employer, it is better to be honest about what help you need. Disclosing a disability can be worrying, but I would advise it, if you are applying for graduate schemes.

2.     Don’t make out that you cannot do things that you can.

Maybe maths is not your forte and you would prefer to avoid a numerical reasoning test or perhaps the idea public speaking is terrifying and you think that your disability could help you to avoid being asked to present. Employers today, particularly graduate employers, are increasingly aware of disability requirements. They will have an idea of what is and isn’t possible for a disabled applicant and it will reflect badly on you to opt out of tasks that you are capable of doing.

3.     You may have to chase employers to put reasonable adjustments in place.

I would normally advise graduates never to hassle HR staff about the progress of an application. This said, when places are given out on a rolling basis, waiting to for adjustments to your psychometric tests can mean that places on your chosen scheme will be taken before you have a chance to get through the process. I work for the charity Blind in Business, which helps sight impaired graduates to get good graduate scheme jobs. We are happy to advocate on a candidates behalf to arrange extra time or a scribe for recruitment tests.

4.     Speak up, if you are not given the adaptations that you need.

I sat many psychometric tests when applying to different graduate schemes and on one occasion I felt that I was at a disadvantage because of the test structure. I receive extra time in numerical reasoning tests because my restricted field of vision means that it takes longer to find the relevant information from graphs and charts. I found that with extra time, although I was often timed out before completing the last couple of questions on a test, I was able to answer enough questions correctly to pass. This particular test had a time limit for each question. This meant that I was repeatedly timed out. I wrote an email to HR explaining that I couldn’t read the graphs and charts quickly enough when there was a per-question time limit and the recruiter arranged for me to re-sit the tests with a global time limit instead. This option is now given as standard to visually impaired people who apply to this employer.

The government scheme Access to Work is there to help provide any equipment or support that you need in the workplace. For information on the scheme, visit: https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work/overview

Diversity is important to make an organisation thrive and employers are more open to recruiting disabled graduates than in the past.

If I had one piece of advice to give, I would say to remember that employers may not have first-hand experience of working with someone with your disability. So put them at ease. Show them how small adaptations allow you to do a great job. If you present them with access solutions and a can-do approach, you are much more likely to get the job.

 

How to interview well when discussing a disability

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📥  Advice, Diversity

GUEST BLOG: City Disabilities is a charity set up to provide support and advice for students and professionals with disabilities, as well as employers. Liz Dawes has very kindly written a guest blog post which contains excellent advice on how you discuss your disability at an interview.

For more information about City Disabilities and how they can support you and details of their excellent mentoring programme, please visit their website.

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There is no legal obligation to disclose a disability at interview, and many people choose not to. For people whose disability is either obvious, or affects how they do their job, this choice is not available. That being the case, how do you discuss a disability at interview in a positive way, ensuring you are fairly assessed?

Focus on the job
Job adverts come with a person specification. The purpose of an interview is to discover if you fulfil that specification. Like any other candidate, concentrate on showing, through your answers, that you meet the person spec as advertised. If you don’t show how you fulfil the person spec, you won’t be offered the job.

How does your disability impact your work?
If you are going to discuss a disability, keep it in the context of how you will do your job. If you are asked about skills you have that are impacted by your disability, explain this in your reply. So to use a simple example, let’s imagine a person has some hearing loss, and the person spec requires them to use the telephone frequently. When asked about those skills, a candidate can say: “Because I have partial hearing loss, it can be difficult for me to hear conversations over the telephone.” They can then go on to explain what practical solutions will work best for them.

What solutions work for you?
Think through the ways an employer can offer you reasonable adjustments at work, and explain this to them once you have raised your disability. Demonstrate that you have thought through what you need to do at work, and have found solutions to any issues. Consider advances in technology, practical matters of access, and the kind of support you might need. If an employer can see how adjustments can be made, they are more likely to consider you as a candidate. You will also be demonstrating that you are proactive, understand the job requirements, and have a practical approach.

No headlines
Try not to highlight disability as a big deal if you don’t need to. Put it into the context of the job you are being asked to do, and show how it is a practical issue that can be dealt with. There is no need to give the impression that it is an issue, when it isn’t. Ask yourself: What part of the job does your disability affect, how does it affect it, and how do you propose to overcome this issue? This approach reassures an employer that you have thought about the job, thought about the person spec, are clear how you can fulfil the spec and so do the job, and will be a reliable employee.

Accentuate the positive
Employers often ask questions designed to show a candidates resilience, resourcefulness and dedication. Remember that candidates with disabilities have very often faced more hurdles and shown more determination that non-disabled candidates. Do not be afraid of pointing out the issues you have dealt with while still achieving the academic and personal success that has got you to the interview stage.

Beware of inappropriate reactions
Unfortunately some employers are not as good as they should be on these matters. If you encounter a negative reaction to your discussions, think carefully about the employer. If they see disability as a big issue you may find them hard to work for. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t work there, but if you do not believe the culture of an employer is the best for you, then you may not be happy.

 

Careers support for disabled students

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📥  Advice, Diversity

The careers team are mindful this is a really hectic time for a lot of you - some of you may be considering placements, applying for graduate jobs where as some of you may be trying to clarify your thinking about what you want to do. All this can sometimes feel really overwhelming... and more so if you have additional needs arising from disabilities and health conditions. You may be worrying about whether you disclose your disability and how employers may view this in the selection process.

Please let me assure you - there are lots of good, inclusive employers out there who will take on board individual circumstances, and will view your disability positively. My role in the careers service is to support you and I can help you in a number of ways such as:

  • discussing when to disclose
  • clarifying reasonable adjustments and helping you to explain these to potential employers
  • helping you to identify inclusive employers

To book an appointment  please contact the Careers Service or email me, Saiyada Fazal, directly at s.fazal@bath.ac.uk. Our conversation is confidential. Do also keep an eye on our events programme; for example next Wednesday, 28th October, City Disabilities will be delivering a webinar on disclosing your disability from 1.15-2.05pm. We also blog useful advice and opportunities so keep checking back.

 

 

Autism in the Workplace...

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📥  Diversity, Sector Insight

This recent article in The Guardian highlights the work of Specialisterne (Danish for the Specialists) – a charitable organisation which has now spread to 13 countries, including Britain, where for the last two years it has placed people on the spectrum in positions in the BBC, the NHS and Lockheed Martin in Glasgow among others.

If you are a Bath student or graduate who has autism and would like to discuss your disability and how to present it to employers, please book an appointment with one of our careers advisers. You may also find our blog post on disclosure and advice for disabled students of interest. Remember we are open throughout the summer holidays!

 

DisabledGo provides access guide at Bath!

  

📥  Advice, Diversity

 

This morning I have been exploring the DisabledGo routes at Bath. This is a fantastic resource and will I am sure be of huge help to our prospective and current disabled students.  DisabeledGo provides invaluable information about the accessibility of our facilities and route plans around the campus.

Within the Careers Service we are committed to offering an accessible service to all our students, some of the ways we can help are:

  • We can provide handouts in alternative formats and on request can photocopy certain resources on colored paper to support our dyslexic students.
  • Access to a dedicated disability Careers Adviser, Saiyada Fazal who can offer extended careers appointments.
  • Our students are invited to declare their disability when booking a careers event and where possible appropriate arrangements will be put in place to facilitate attendance.

Making our service accessible is an ongoing job so please tell us if you have other ideas on how we can further improve our support.