What are the project’s aims?
‘Employability and Disability’ was a National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) funded project, led by the at the University of Worcester, with partners in the Universities of Gloucestershire and Plymouth, and was completed in January 2011. It offered a sector-wide initiative that aimed to reduce discrimination and enhance disabled graduates’ employability. It intended to achieve this by equipping disabled students with the skills to match employability competencies (Kubler et al, 2006), largely through enhancing academic and careers staff’s knowledge and understanding about the potential challenges that disabled students may face in developing such skills, and in offering possible solutions.
What do we mean by ’employability’?
For the purpose of this project, employability was understood as “a set of achievements – skills, understandings and personal attributes – that make graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations, which benefits themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy” (Yorke, 2005, p. 8).
Who are the key players?
The project featured collaboration between the Universities of Worcester (the lead institution), Gloucestershire and Plymouth. Drawing on the wide experience of three National Teaching Fellows with recognised expertise in the field of disability, the project built explicitly on the knowledge acquired through the creation of the existing heavily used resource (Strategies for Creating Inclusive Programmes of Study). The project also had a group of high profile colleagues on its steering group who were highly experienced in the area of employability.
What are the major outcomes of the project?
A new web-based resource, ‘Use My Ability‘, features as the major output of the project. We provide workshops aimed at helping disabled students boost employability skills and use of assistive technology. These workshops have been informed by research with employers, academic staff, careers staff and disabled students and are avalible to anyone who is interested.
Dr Val Chapman (NTF)
Director, Centre for Inclusive Learning Support
Judith Waterfield (NTF)
Head of Disability ASSIST Services
Dr Phil Gravestock (NTF)
Head of Learning Enhancement and Technology Support