Graduate Recruiter’s Disability Café 7 (GR’7)
Hosted by Lloyds Banking Group
In order to ease the transition between university and the workplace, disabled applicants must feel confident that their new employer will be open and accepting of any reasonable adjustments required in the workplace. Employers face challenges in implementing adjustments, as they must first know what adjustments the employee requires. Employers must also have available the time, resources and expertise needed to properly implement reasonable adjustments.
On 20th June, 2012, members of the Graduate Recruiters Disability Café Club (GRDCC) met at the office of Lloyds Banking Group for the seventh Disability Café, events which are run exclusively for GRDCC members. This café aimed to facilitate discussion between recruiters and industry experts regarding implementing adjustments in the workplace. Attendees included recruiters from a wide range of companies including Microsoft, PWC and Linklater, representatives from several university student services, and a number of disabled students and recent graduates.
The main theme of this café regarded the co-operation between university student services and employers to ensure a smooth transition for new employees. Employers can gain great insights from these services, as they often work with disabled students over the entirety of their time at university. Depending on the level of support offered by the university, employers could tap into a great wealth of knowledge and understanding in a short amount of time, simply by contacting university student services. Some universities even have ‘support profiles’ for disabled students, which contain information on adjustments the university made for the student during his or her time at university, along with references to any relevant medical reports and needs assessments.
Keynote speakers at this event included Peter Quinn, Head of Disability Advisory Service at Oxford University, Gill Beech, Operations Manager of Disability and Dyslexia Service at Brunei University, and Joanne Hastwell, Asperger Syndrome Project Officer and DSA Needs Assessor at University of Cambridge. These representatives each showcased the unique knowledge and support they offer at their respective universities, demonstrating the wealth of untapped expertise within university student services. Support services at these universities included awareness events, technology, mentoring schemes, funding support, careers advice, and study skills sessions, among other services.
Between the keynote speeches, attendees participated in café style discussion in small groups, sparked both by the speakers and prompts from Helen Cooke, Director of My Plus Consulting. These small-group discussions allowed attendees to exchange ideas and experiences of how different companies handle adjustments in the workplace, and to learn better methods to implement in the future.
The keynote speakers joined with Nadia Ilyas, a current law student, and Shuhena Bhanu, a recent graduate, to form a panel. Attendees asked questions to gain further insight into just how much support is offered by university student services, and to better understand how to facilitate a smooth transition from university to the workplace.
The outputs from this event were graphically recorded by Doug Cameron, Graphic Designer at Grass Hopper Design. Click here to view a sample of the recordings.
Feedback from the event has been very positive. After the event, employers felt more prepared to reach out to and collaborate with university student services in providing reasonable adjustments in the workplace.
Thanks to Lloyds Banking Group for their warm hospitality during this event.