Next steps: Enhancing success for students with disabilities in graduate employment

Cathy Easte3, Alisha Larkin1, Natalie Searson2, Gabrielle O’Brien4, Jenny O’Neill5

1Consultant, MindBodyCreate
2Job Development Officer, Mylestones Employment
3Coordinator, Disabilities Service, Griffith University
4Manager, Student Diversity and Inclusion
5Manager, Employment Liaison and Graduation Promotions

This presentation outlines a pilot project trialled in 2016/2017 to enhance the employment prospects for students with disabilities (SWD) graduating from university. The University Specialist Employment Partnership (USEP) has several aims: to connect students with employment opportunities through timely and appropriate support from an on-campus USEP consultant; promote strong linkages between partners, and foster cross-training and upskilling of university careers advisors and Disabilities Services Officers around the types of supports available within the employment environment. This unique project is a tripartite collaboration between the National Disability Coordination Program, Mylestones Employment and Griffith University. This presentation will allow participants to glean strategies which specifically target students with disabilities taking into account the intersection of disability support, career development and graduate employability.


The combined experience of the presenters represents many decades of expertise in fields such as equity, disability, disability employment, and career development. The involvement of the presenters in the University Employment Specialist Program has been crucial in managing this project. Gabrielle O’Brien has over 20 years of experience in Higher Education across various areas and is currently the Manager, Student Diversity and Inclusion at Griffith University and the President of EPHEA. Alisha Larkin is a disability advisor for the Government, a corporate consultant at mindbodycreate and previously worked with the National Disability Coordination Officer Program. Cathy Easte is the Coordinator, Disabilities Service at Griffith University and also has previous experience as a disability consultant at TAFE. Natalie Searson is a Job Development Officer with Mylestones Employment which focuses on recruitment and employment of people with disabilities. She is currently working as the University Specialist Recruitment Consultant at Griffith University. Jenny O’Neil is Branch Manager of UniTemps Griffith and Manager of Griffith University’s Employer Liaison and Graduate Program within Griffith’s Careers and Employment Service.


The Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association Inc. (ANZSSA) is a professional association for people with an interest in the role of support services in post secondary education.

For more information, please visit ANZSSA website by


ISANA International Education Association is the representative body for professionals in Australia and New Zealand who work in international student services, advocacy, teaching and policy development in international education.

For more information, please visit the ISANA website at

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