The Education and Career Support (ECS) Program
ECS is a program specifically targeting all students living with one or more disability, medical or mental health conditions studying at UTS.
What's on offer:
- Career Support to:
- enhance work readiness and employability through individualised career action planning;
- improve understand of disclosure, and confidence in seeking adjustments in the workplace;
- identify and access opportunities for internships and graduate placements; as well as
- facilitate structured referrals to the UTS Careers Service.
- Peer Tutoring to enhance a student’s academic outcomes via free one to one peer tutoring.
- UTS Fitness referrals which includes a 3 month UTS gym membership and personalised fitness plan.
ECS program eligibility:
All students with disability registered with the UTS Accessibility Service or accessing UTS counselling can access the ECS program for Career Action Planning.
Students registered with the UTS Accessibility Services who are also in receipt of a Centrelink benefit or who are assessed as low income can access the ECS Program Peer Tutoring Program and the three month UTS Fitness Referral. If you are unsure whether you meet the low income requirements, please make an appointment with ECS to discuss further.
For more information:
Students can be referred to the ECS program by their Accessibility Consultant or UTS Counsellor. If you are eligible, your Accessibility Consultant can book you in for an appointment with the ECS Program.
Please contact the ECS Program
Phone: +61 2 9514 1177
Fax: +61 2 9514 1172
Email: Accessibility@uts.edu.au Please use your UTS student email account to ensure your email is received.
The ECS Program is located in the Student Services Unit: Level 6, UTS Tower - Building 1.
Female: I had my life changing car accident at 26, so between 26 and 37 I've had to learn to manage it, so developing the skills to manage shortcomings, not as some sort of definitive measure of being incompetent and a pain to everybody, but learning to manage them as just part of your life.
Male: I'm an unusual case because I'm someone who has a guide dog but I have tunnel vision. It is often funny when I come into a class because my guide dog is told to sit down and then I flip open my notes and start reading in front of people. You get this 'what the?' expression on people's faces. I like that. I like breaking people's stereotypical assumptions.
Female: I'm partially deaf and I find sometimes when I undertake university studies or any other studies, one of my main issues is being able to hear people that are located a distance away from me. So I need to work around that by setting up close to the other person or having a personal listening kit which will allow me to receive or hear the person using the T-loop system.
Male: My learning disability means that I make a lot of spelling errors during exams, for example, I need to use a dictionary and I'm sometimes able in English with a dictionary to make the corrections I need to. It takes me a bit longer to read through information.
Female: It took me something like three years to finish my last couple of subjects because I couldn't sit still and do so many things, but I just was not going to stop two subjects short of a degree.
Male: Law school was very difficult. My MBA is difficult. You do have your moments. You have your bad moments. I've failed two subjects in my MBA already, but I've done them again and I've passed them well. Those things you must expect in a world that's not sympathetic towards people with disabilities. You've just got to get up and have a go again until you do succeed.
Male: I think about the day when you - beyond graduation, think about - you don't just think about the next four years that you've got to do your university studies.
Female: [I teach the] students, even before they complete their studies, is to look for part time work because you have no idea how important it is to have the work experience under your belt because the moment you leave the university and look for work in a company, a lot of the people that will interview you and ask you what will you do if you have that kind of problem situation, what will you do, how will you deal with the client, how will you deal with the employees. Sometimes it's hard to answer the question if you haven't got any commercial experience.
So it's good to get some sort of work experience, whether it is paid work or volunteer work, go for that. You will enhance your resume. You will show your potential employer that you can do a lot of things. Don't worry about working in a very menial low-level job like [unclear] or Burger King, which I've done before, it helps.
Female: Draw on the resources that are available. So for me at UTS, there are so many services that I made use of there and I think the best one was spending time talking to people in special needs. So when something gets difficult for you, go talk to someone about it, so learning to actually manage the difficulties was the key skill that I think you take out to the workplace with you.
So instead of feeling uncomfortable and disabled as a person with limitations, you actually feel enabled.
Male: I think the most important thing that a university [equity unit] can provide, along with the support service, is actually having a resource around for students. A room where students with disabilities can meet each other, communicate with one another, congregate. Some of your greatest friendships form there. They're the ones who really understand what it's like.
Female: It's usually a good idea to get someone from the career guidance department to help you out with the resume part of it. There are a couple of books in the market which actually provide a few hints and guidance on how to prepare a resume, how to prepare for an interview. It's good to know all that because then you're more well prepared for the interviews.
Sometimes you speak to someone who is in the industry already and show them your resume just to have a quick look.
Male: I came up with the attitude that I'll work really hard during uni, and I got good marks, that should entitle me to a job and that doesn't - I really had to change my way of thinking to know that it really doesn't work that way. You've got to learn to - you've got to stand up about others. It doesn't matter to look good on paper, you've also got to look good in person and be able to present yourself properly and be able to give people what they want.
Female: It's hard to visualise myself in a room with a person thinking of all the potential questions they will ask me. I tend to rather write it on paper.
Male: The university marks are taken into an interview but when it actually comes to the interview itself, you've got to be prepared and it's the same as doing an assignment, you've got to know what they're going to say and you've got to know what they're going to ask you. You've got to do your homework.
Female: It would be helpful if you do a bit of research in the company so at least you know where the company is heading, what sort of direction it's going to go into. It gives you something common to talk to with the interviewers.
Male: How will you get the customers' locations, how do you get into buildings, how do you travel, what sort of support do you need, those sorts of really important questions. I think it's important for people with disabilities who are applying for a job, if those questions are not being asked in an interview, for the person themselves to answer the questions unprompted. They will be questions in employers' minds regardless, whether or not the employer feels comfortable to ask those questions, they will be in the employer's mind, and if the question is not being asked then the employer will make up their own mind what the answer will be. Usually the answer will be wrong.
Male: I think it's very important when you write in an application that you actually be quite honest about your disability and I think that you shouldn't be ashamed to mention your disability. It's part of who you are.
Female: For me, I've chosen not to disclose at interview and I think the chances of you getting a job are whatever they are, probability-wise, so if you get offered the job then it becomes something you need to talk about.
Male: I didn't disclose my disability to the employer because there wasn't any need to. Whatever it was, I knew I had time to - if it was spelling errors, I knew I could use words and spell checkers and grammar checkers. It means that just I had a bit of extra time to do stuff.
Female: I did disclose my hearing disability. She was aware that I had a disability and she was happy to work around it. I said, it's preferable not to have a phone call interview, I would rather have a face to face interview.
Male: If I revealed my disability, either in a formal application, written application or over the phone, it's much easier for an employer - potential employer to make judgements about what my disability might mean and I don't get the opportunity then to even judge whether or not they're making those assumptions. If I'm with a person face to face then I can obviously judge the reaction a person is having to me and can hopefully address any nothings that I think they may be developing.
So I would still recommend to people that that's the process that they undertake.
Female: If it's about wheelchair entry then you need to tell people, because you can't run the risk of getting there and finding out you can't get in the building. Whereas for me, it's more about day to day things that I might not be able to do.
Male: We're looking for a can-do attitude. The disability isn't a key factor that we're concerned about because if they can contribute to both the community and also the academic outcomes, we see that of being of great value.
[Jacqueline] came to us through a range of interviews and she demonstrated that she had the academic capability. She also had the attitude that can say, I can do it.
Male: There will be people out there who will see past - whatever your disability is, they will see past it and they will see the real you. Don't be afraid to make friends in the workplace.
Female: Identifying someone who is senior enough to be able to help you, to be able to change things for you and also someone that you trust and that you're comfortable with.
Male: If you're really passionate about something and it's not the highest paid job in the world, still go for it because if you are really passionate about it, if you're really good at it, you'll excel. If you excel at something, you're obviously going to be rewarded for it later on.
Female: If there's a will, there's always a way. I believe that even though you might have a disability or anything that you could challenge you in terms of your work or your studies, there are always ways around it. All you have to do is look for ways to work around it and apply your skills or your experience in that area and do the best you can. If you're - if they ask you for 100 per cent, give it 110 per cent and nothing - and you'll do well.
Male: One of the driving forces behind this change in thinking that people with disabilities really now are people who can, should and want to work, is the increasing skill shortage in Australia and other countries. People are finally starting to recognise that with businesses struggling to find good, educated, motivated workers to work for them, and looking at people with disabilities who are keen to work, who have the qualifications they need to work, businesses are increasingly starting to see a link between the two.
Male: The world cannot tell you what you can and what you can't do. You are the final judge - you are the best judge of what you can and what you can't do. I know it applies to you both at work and your domestic life and in your university life.
Male: I strongly encourage any students with disabilities who are seeing this, to put the hard yards in. It's not easy but it is absolutely worth the effort.
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Other UTS Services and Assistance
- UTS Accessibility Service
- UTS Financial Assistance Service
- UTS Counselling
- UTS Careers - CareerHub
- Higher Education Language and Presentation Support: HELPS
- UTS Library Supports
- Other peer tutoring options -
- UTS Community and Leadership programs
- UTS wayfinding
- UTS Disability and Carers Collective
Helpful Resources beyond UTS
- The Australian Network on Disability - Information for students and jobseekers with disability including the Stepping into Internship Program and PACE Mentoring
- The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) - If you are a person with disability and you meet the access requirements you can become a participant in the scheme. The NDIS provides information and referrals, support to access community services and activities, personal plans and supports. Students may wish to consider an NDIS plan as part of their transition from University to employment.
- The Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET). In order to facilitate successful outcomes and improve the educational experience for students with disability, ADCET provides information, advice and resources to disability practitioners, academics, teachers and students on inclusive practices within the post-secondary education sector.
- National Disability Coordination Officer (NDCO) Program. The Australian Government’s National Disability Coordination Officer (NDCO) Program works strategically to assist people with disability access and participate in tertiary education and subsequent employment, through a national network of regionally based NDCOs.
- The I Can Network is an organisation that empowers young people on the Autism Spectrum.
- Specialisterne Australia assist organisations in recruiting and supporting people on the autism spectrum. If you are autistic and looking for work, you are welcome to join Specialisterne’s mailing list and for email updates on employment opportunities.
- Australian Public Service:
- JobAccess - for expert advice on matters relating to the employment of people with disability, contact the JobAccess Advisers free of charge.
- myfuture - is Australia’s national online career information and exploration service that assists career planning, career pathways and work transitions. myfuture provides information and support for career development for individuals, and for those who support or influence career choices
Listen to other peoples experiences
- Specialisterne - Turning negative traits into positive characteristics
- TED Talk Stella Young – 17 things Stella Young Wanted you to Know
- TED Talk Susan Robinson – How I fail at being disabled
- Blind cadet journalist Nas Campanella is pioneering presentation of news for Triple J - Nas Campanella - Cadet Journalist with disability
- Employable Me - Following people with neuro-diverse conditions such as autism, OCD & Tourette syndrome as they search for meaningful employment. This uplifting & insightful series draws on science & experts to uncover people's hidden skills.