At a recent Studyology session I met Sascha Lemon-Spence. No, she wasn’t there to get help for her procrastination, but instead to promote the work she does here at Flinders. After talking for a while, it was clear that I need to promote the work she does here on the blog, and she kindly agreed to put together a blog post for me.
I’m always pumped to feature the work of other people on the blog, so I present to you, Sascha Lemon-Spence!
Hi! My name is Sascha and I am the University Specialist Employment Partnerships (USEP) consultant here at Flinders along with Ada.
USEP is a pilot program preparing and connecting students with disability to graduate jobs.
I wanted to use this blog post to tell you a bit about me, my experience, my role here at the University, and finally to help you work out whether it might be helpful for you to come and see me. Spoiler: a lot of students who don’t necessarily identify as having a ‘disability’ might actually still benefit from our service.
A bit about me
For 4 days of the week, I work as a case manager for Community Bridging Services (CBS).
CBS are a not-for-profit, Disability Employment Service (DES) to help people with disability or disadvantage to get into the open work market once their conditions are stable.
In my role as a case manager not only do I support and counsel our clients through managing their disability whilst preparing for and maintaining work, but I am constantly talking to employers to generate opportunities for employment and discuss industry trends. Through the DES program, we can provide clients with additional training, on the job supports, counselling and workplace modifications as needed.
Our involvement is purely for support and is of no cost to the clients or the employers. Students can access DES support if they are studying part-time or have completed their studies and are not in employment.
CBS have been operating for over 20 years and have 20+ offices throughout SA providing employment services as well as our Choices programs which incorporate art and recreation activities for our clients who are not seeking employment, but wish to be engaged in the community.
I have a long history of working with people with disabilities. I have worked with CBS and the Disability sector for over 7 years and in Employment Services for 13 years. Prior to Employment Services I was employed in roles that included Training Manager and Departmental Manager within a hospitality setting, so I have been an employer and employed people with disability myself.
My role here at Flinders University
Under the USEP pilot program I am here at Flinders one day a week (Tuesdays) for consultations and support.
As the USEP consultant I work between the Careers Team and the Disability Team.
The goals of the USEP program are to create additional support and a bridge for students about to enter post Uni life and employment. We can assist with resume and interview preparations, as well as provide assistance in how to address and manage some of the difficulties that may arise including linking to a DES provider and accessing NDIS and support services once you complete your studies.
Do you need my services?
A lot of students when they hear that I am a disability employment consultant, think the service is not for them, because they don’t identify as having a disability.
But I think it is relevant to discuss what disability is.
Many people see disability as the person in the wheelchair, or having a physical or intellectual impairment, but it is much more than that. It may be someone experiencing depression, anxiety, chronic pain, an injury, asthma, epilepsy or even someone on the autism spectrum. There are so many different people we can assist who fall under the “disability” banner. Old conceptualisations of ‘disability’ no longer apply, and I see every day that we are breaking down stereotypes and increasing support for people just by talking about the challenges that many people face in their studies and subsequently in the job market.
It may be that you are reading this today and thinking “hey, maybe I fall into one of those categories”, or you might know someone who might. You might also be feeling unsure, or feeling anxious at the thought of talking about the challenges you have and are worried about disclosure and the impact of this.
BUT….that’s what we are here for.
As the consultants, Ada and I have been at the Uni since July and we are noticing that a lot of students aren’t considering that they may potentially be eligible for the support. However we feel seeking such support in the current jobs climate is sensible.
For example, we know that jobs growth will increase over the next 5 years by 7.1 % but far more job opportunities will be created for job seekers through job turnover rather than net employment growth. We also know that students with disability are 10-11% less likely than those students without a disability to achieve employment outcomes post-graduation and about 5% less likely to gain work that fully utilises their skills.
So the jobs market will continue to be competitive and any support we can provide to assist you to be attractive to prospective employers, the better.
So, even if you are not sure whether you quality for the USEP program, or whether it will be of help to you I encourage you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, call me on 0448 000 897, or book a session via Career Hub.