Skip to content

Tag: #employment

Wishing You a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year



Christmas is upon us!

The scent of mince pies is in the air. Houses are decorated in lights. People are wiping off the cob webs from their tree to decorate them. It’s a time where we gain unwanted kilos and relax with loved ones. During this time, I look back on the year that is just about to pass.

One of the positives for me this year was the creation of The Untapped Platform.  As a person with a disability it has been a privilege to write about topics I feel extremely passionate about, such as disability inclusion.

As this will be my final blog piece for the year, we at Untapped, wish to sincerely thank our readers.

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day to read Untapped!

Over the past few months I have written about some of the triumphs and tribulations for the disability community.

I wrote about Jordon Mr Steele-John, a man with a disability, who was campaigning for a seat in the senate for Western Australia. After writing my blog,  Mr Steele-John won.   This was such a significant moment for me and the wider disability community because there is a person with disability in parliament representing our views.

I wrote about the new NDIS pathway. The NDIS intended to improve the experience the participants have with the NDIS. I found this to be positive. The new changes were the result of feedback the agency took from the participants.

I wrote about the positive connection Untapped made with Disability Matters. Disability Matters is a platform for people with disability to be heard.  People with disability can express their views on disability related issues by using this platform.  Disability Matters share the same goal as Untapped: giving people with disability a voice.

I wrote about the announcement that the disability advocacy organisations in New South Wales will have their funding removed by June 2018.This will result in disability advocacy organisations closing, which will leave many people with disability without a voice.

I wrote about employment and how the labour participation for people with disability is low. One of the main reasons is disability discrimination. We hope the Untapped Platform will improve the employment situation for people with disability by educating the wider business community.

I discussed the decline of students that have disability in mainstream schools. I am extremely passionate about this because I attended a mainstream school. I personally experienced how attending a mainstream school can change the students’ live. Students with a disability must not be excluded from mainstream schools.

So that’s some of what Untapped has done so far this year.


Have yourself an accessible little Christmas

Well, I’m ready for Christmas. My lightweight, appropriately-sized presents are wrapped. My wheelchair accessible travel to see my family is booked. My chair has had her Christmas cut and polish. I do really like Christmas. Apart from a few traditions that make this time of year a bit, well, inaccessible for me.


But before we further reflect on the year we have to get through Christmas!

I have a love hate relationship with Christmas. I enjoy spending time with loved ones. I savor every morsel of pork. I love seeing the delight on people’s faces when they receive gifts.

However I become frustrated when I go Christmas shopping.  Swarms of people go to the shops. I don’t like the endless ques. Sometimes I curse myself for not taking a book while waiting in line.

Having a disability at Christmas can have its’s challenges such as shopping for loved ones.  I sometimes need assistance with shopping. I can’t bring my loved ones to shop for their presents, unless I blindfold them because I want them to be a surprised. So therefore I have the help from a support worker. I find people, including myself, are less patient leading up to Christmas. Due to my disability, I am physically slower which holds other people up.

The late disability advocate Stella Young wrote that there were a few challenges for people with disability during the holiday season. These include having to have the prize ornament on top of the tree and an increase of people in shopping centers. She writes in spite of these challenges, Christmas for her was a lot of fun.

I really enjoy Christmas day. We do have a lot of fun. When I pull a Christmas cracker with my brothers, I place my hand halfway on it. They call it cheating.  It’s in good humour. However they don’t pull many crackers with me considering what I do!

So I hope you have a fun and relaxing time. Hope you have a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

1 Comment

The time to include students with disability in mainstream school is now.

Picture this..

A young girl with a physical disability aged six, looking at the other children without a disability playing happily in the school yard. This girl was staring at the children through heavy gates. She was in a unit for students with a disability located on the grounds of a mainstream school. She was only permitted to mingle with the other students at lunch.

I was this young girl. It was extremely painful. I felt as though I was in a cage.

My disability was amplified.

Fortunately, through the tenacity of my mother and other professionals, I was fully integrated at a local catholic school. This was the opening to a whole new world.  I had significantly more opportunities than I would have had at a segregated school, such as attending university.

As integration into a mainstream school played an important role in my life, I was alarmed when I read an article by journalist Luke Michael Showing that mainstream schools are currently discouraging the inclusion of students with a disability.

Michael wrote a national survey has revealed more than 70% of students with disability have been discouraged to enroll in mainstream schools. He wrote, Stephanie Gotlib, the CEO of Children and Young People with Disability Australia claimed the results show that the mainstream education system continues to resist the inclusion of students with disability.


Click here for article

Mainstream Schools Discourage Inclusion of Students with Disability | PBA

Mainstream Schools Discourage Inclusion of Students with Disability Monday, 6th November 2017 at 4:12 pm A national survey of students with disability has revealed more than 70 per cent of students have experienced instances where their enrolment and inclusive participation in mainstream schools has been discouraged.

Craig Wallace, disability activist has direct experience of being segregated at schools. A few years ago, there was a debate regarding whether students with disability should be included in mainstream schools. Craig attended a ‘special’ school for a little while. He wrote they were sad places with low expectations. He claimed that students fail to thrive in segregated settings.

An article written by Catia Malaquias writes that research indicates that students with disability who were included in mainstream schools had better social and academic outcomes than students in special schools. Research showed people with disability who were included in mainstream schools are more likely to be employed or living independently later in life, compared to people who attended a segregated school.

Dr Kathy Cologon conducted an extensive literature review and found that inclusive education helps students with disability build friendship and have higher levels of interactions than students in a segregated setting.

However, despite the positives of students with disability in mainstream schools, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows between 2003 and 2015, there was a shift toward students with disability attending special schools, and away from attending special classes in mainstream schools.

The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) show that the outcome of being educated in a segregated environment can place people with disability on a ‘treadmill’ to a segregated life.

While inclusive education has been shown in most cases to outweigh segregation settings, it involves a concerted effort by teaching staff. Dr Phil Foreman wrote that inclusive education relied heavily on the attitudes of principals, teachers and staff.

When I was integrated into mainstream school, some of the teachers showed negative attitudes toward my presence in the classroom. There was a day when a teacher instructed us to draws angles. I raised my hand and said I’m sorry but I’m unable to draw. The teacher snarled ‘what are you doing in this class then?’. This was in front of my peers, I was humiliated!

An article by Linda Graham and Kate de Bruin and Ilektra Spandagou showed that Dr James Morton, who is a parent of child with autism, criticised universities for failing to prepare teachers to teach students with disability. Teachers must be equipped to educate students with varying disability.

However, the responsibility cannot fall directly on the teachers. AFDO claims Governments must ensure that teachers and school communities have sufficient funding for disability support or other resources. Thus, teachers will be able to meet the diverse needs of all their students

My life changed dramatically when I was placed into a mainstream school. The sad young girl I described has become an educated woman with an abundant life. My hope is that every child with a disability is accepted and feels valued in the community.

If society is serious about the inclusion of people with disability, they must ensure schools embrace all students so they can reach their potential.


Leave a Comment

Linking arms makes us stronger

I developed a passion for writing at an early age. Due to my cerebral palsy, my speech is slurred making it difficult for most to understand what I say. However when I write, I can communicate without hindrance. People can understand my messages. This is extremely liberating to express my thoughts.

I believe that when I write about disability issues I’m able to challenge people’s perceptions of people with disability. I strongly believe that a great majority of peoples prejudice towards people with disability stems from ignorance.

I believe that when I write I’m removing some people’s misconceptions. Hopefully my writing provides people an insight of the experiences of people with disability.

I find writing about my experiences of having a disability liberating. I believe that for far too long people without a disability have written about us.

We have been the objects for people to research and write about, however in recent years there has been a paradigm shift. People are finally realising that we are experts of our own lives. Our voices are finally being heard and valued.

A key goal for Untapped is to create change, and one of the ways we do this is to join forces with others.

We like to share and support other organisations doing good things for people with a disability.  So from time to time, i will be introducing you to some of these organisations who share our goal and vision, and also help people with a disability to have a voice.

My Disability Matters

My Disability Matters is a fantastic service we have recently connected with, and we love to share information and support others. Untapped is very happy to share this service who provides valuable resources to people with disability, family members and people who have an interest in disability issues.

Visit My Disability Matters

My Disability Matters Club

Living with disability can be lonely and very challenging Are you a person living with disability? Are you a family member or carer of someone with a disability? Do you work in the disability services sector? The My Disability Matters Club has been created just for you Make new friends with people who understand you.

My Disability Matters believes that many people with disability are isolated and don’t have access to information that could enhance their lives. To provide a solution to this situation, My Disability Matters endeavors to address this by providing people with disability and their loved ones an online news, information and a social platform.

The My Disability Matters club (MDM Club)

The free social network offered by My Disability Matters is known as the MDM Club. The club provides people the opportunity to meet others in similar circumstances.

Members of the club can have open discussions of disability issues. They are able to meet others touched by disability from across the globe and find peer support.

As a person with disability I know how useful it is to speak with other people in similar situations. We are able to share our experiences and to support each other. By conversing with others, it reduces our isolation. We learn that we are not the only ones who have encountered certain challenges caused by having a disability. This creates a sense of community for people with disability.

The MDM clubs offers online forums and they have specific club groups targeted for people who have similar interests.

The MDM club has a blog. People can hear stories from writers with a disability about their personal experiences. Writers also have a great opportunity to share their work. As a freelance writer with a disability, excitement fuelled my veins when I heard about this blog.

I believe that MDM are part of a social movement acting as an agent for social change. By sharing the stories of people with disability, society can view us as valuable citizens.

Platforms such as MDM and Untapped allow people with disability to have a voice. For too long our voices have been suppressed. It is empowering to know that not only our voices can be heard, our voices are valued. This provides us a beacon of hope.

Leave a Comment

Job applicants with a disability at a disadvantage

‘To whom it may concern’.

I have written the above line to potential employers applying for a position countless times. I always mentioned in my applications that I have a disability. I rarely received the courtesy of a reply.

I often wonder whether this was due to the fact that I have a disability.

Whether they know it or not, employers are discriminating against job applicants who disclose they have a disability on their applications.

The article by May Bulman shows how job applicants with a disability are being discriminated against in the U.K., Bulman writes that research shows that people with disability have to apply for 60% more jobs than applicants without a disability.  Bulman wrote about a woman Lauren Pitt, 24, who has a vision disability and struggled to obtain employment. She was a university graduate with high marks. She didn’t expect finding a job would be as difficulty. It took her nine months to gain work. This was after she applied for 250 positions which led to only a few interviews.

This is similar to my situation.

When I graduated from uni I applied for multitudes of jobs over the course of a few years. From the many job applications I only had two call-backs for an interview. I sought professional help in writing my applications. I believed I had the essential requirements for the job. When I applied for countless positions without receiving a response, I was extremely despondent. I felt like an utter failure.

I had yet to discover that many people with disability have the same experience.

A Journalist Ashitha Nagesh writes of another case in the U.K., where university graduate Daryl Jones applied for 400 job vacancies receiving no response. When he took out all references of his disability off his CV, he was soon contacted to attended job interviews.

Mathew Townsend, a man from Brisbane with a hearing disability, who struggles to find work. He is equipped with two university degrees. He has completed an internship with Telstra and has presented papers at three conferences. One would assume from his credentials he would be an excellent employee. However he cannot obtain employment after applying for many positions.

Read the article here

Disabled people have to apply for 60% more jobs than non-disabled people before finding one

Disabled people need to apply for 60 per cent more jobs than non-disabled jobseekers before they find work, new research shows. An Opinium survey of 2,000 disabled people also found that more than half (51 per cent) of applications from disabled people result in an interview, compared with 69 per cent for non-disabled applicants.

Research shows the cases above aren’t isolated.

Researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research  USA wanted to determine how people’s disability affects their chances of being considered for employment. The researchers submitted 6,016 false applications to positions at accounting firms. One third of the applicants mentioned having Asperger’s Syndrome, another third disclosed a spinal cord injury in their applications.  The remaining third of applicants did not disclose any disability. The results showed applicants without disabilities were 26% more likely to get an expression of interest from an employer than the applicants who disclosed a disability.

Jean-François Ravaud, Béatrice Madiot and Isabelle Ville conducted a similar study to determine whether job applicants with a disability were disadvantaged. Some applicants claimed to have a disability while others didn’t. The study found that the candidates without a disability were more likely to receive a favorable response than those with a disability.

Research conducted by Vision Australia found that 53% of the job-seekers who are blind or have low vision will give up looking for employment because they are too disheartened.

One of the main reasons why candidates with a disability are unsuccessful is due to an employer’s attitudes toward people with disability.

The situation may appear bleak for job applicants with a disability. However, I strongly believe there are actions to be taken to improve it.

We need to educate employers so when they see the term disability on a job application, they will not be instilled with fear. On the contrary when they see an suitable applicant who has a disability they will think potential.

Leave a Comment

University graduates with a disability are falling behind in work participation.


I read an article recently written by Selina Ross which really resonated with my own battle…

Ross discusses the case of a woman Clair Cenin who graduated from university six years ago and is still struggling to find employment. Clair stated she didn’t expect to secure a job straight away, however she never anticipated it would take her so long to find employment.

Clair’s situation reflects my experience.

I have three university degrees. I was awarded my last degree seven years ago. I currently am working. However, for most of the seven years since I have graduated, I have strived to find employment to no avail. So, my blog this week will discuss the current employment situation for graduates with a disability.

Firstly as a graduate with a disability, I will share my personal experience in finding work.

I first attended uni with the belief that a degree would assist me to enter the labour market. When I finally left the ivory halls of university, I was filled with optimism. I was ready to make a contribution to society. This had been my dream. Unfortunately this dream was short lived. For six months I tried to find employment unsuccessfully. Due to this I decided to return to uni. I enrolled in a career orientated degree.

When I completed my second degree, I continued to study by completing an honours degree, upon advice of lecturers who believed it may secure me a job. After graduation, unfortunately my dream of employment didn’t eventuate. I sent multitudes of job applications without receiving the courtesy of a reply.  I’ve volunteered for years. I always have yearned to be a productive member of society. This desire was my reason to further my education.

It hasn’t been all doom and gloom I have managed to secure some temporary roles. However struggling to find work after graduating is heartbreaking.

My situation reflects many other university graduates with a disability.

Graduating from The University of Newcastle


The graduate careers website shows that the rate of graduates with disability who are unemployed and seeking full time work is 23.5%, compared to students without disability at 11.3%. The Australian Network on Disability show that graduates with disability take 56.2 % longer to gain fulltime employment than other graduates. The National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education found that graduates with disability earn less than those without disability.

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission wrote that many uni graduates with disability embark on a continuous cycle of studying, hoping that the additional qualifications will eventually get them a job.

The question is why are graduates with a disability struggling to find work?

Unfortunately, graduates with a disability face many barriers to finding employment.

One barrier is graduates with disability have reduced opportunities for work experience. A report by an organisation Australians For Disability And Diversity Employment Inc. showed that students with a disability tend to be less prepared for work than other students because they devote their time to studying not work related activities.

When I was at uni I did not have the time or the stamina to work and study at the same time, so I missed out on work experiences. One solution to overcoming this barrier would be for students who are unable to work during the semesters to have some sort of work experience throughout uni breaks.

Read the article here

Claire Cenin graduated six years ago and is still looking for a job

Updated September 10, 2017 11:32:18 For most young people who go to university, the aim is to study, graduate and, with a bit of effort and luck, get a job within a year or two. For Claire Cenin, the six years since she graduated have been a lot more frustrating.

The University of Western Sydney wrote that a barrier to employment for graduates with a disability is that employers may have prejudicial attitudes toward people with disability in the workplace. To overcome this barrier uni career services and Disability Employment Services (DES) have to make employers aware of how valuable graduates with a disability can be. It takes great tenacity to complete a degree and this could be a valuable quality an employer may desire

I strongly believe that the difficulties graduates with disability face can be overcome. However it requires an investment by the government into services that offer adequate assistance.

Most of us graduates with a disability, attended university in the hope of having fruitful careers, it’s time for employers to use our talents.

Shouldn’t we as university graduates be able to reap the rewards of our hard work?

Let’s find a solution.






Leave a Comment