Vision Australia (VA) is a leading national provider of blindness and low vision services in Australia. Their mission is to support people who are blind or have low vision to live the life they choose. VA is a not-for-profit organisation and a major participant and partner in the international blindness community. VA supports more than 27,000 clients of all ages and life stages, and circumstances. VA has 28 Vision Australia centres in Victoria, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia; and delivers outreach programs in the Northern Territory and Tasmania. VA provides the following services: low vision assessment; speech pathology; occupational therapy; physio therapy; psychology; orientation and mobility services; access technology training and assessment; library services; print accessibility; and employment services.
The Career Start program was developed as part of a Leadership Development Program (LDP) held in 2015. The Program is designed to provide graduates who are blind or have low vision a kick start into their career by providing a meaningful 12 month paid workplace opportunity. The intention is that over the 12month period graduates develop the general skills of how to operate in a professional workplace and put their qualifications into practice). Beyond the 12months, support is provided to help graduates leverage their learnings and experience to find employment external to the organisation. During the program, participants receive support from the Program Coordinator, and work closely with colleagues in their allocated business unit. They receive daily supervision and support from their direct manager. Graduates also undertake a variety of training opportunities including adaptive technology skills training, resume writing and interview skills. Since the program was implemented in 2015, 21 Graduates have been recruited to participate (five as part of the 2020 program). Of the 16 who have completed the program, ten of these graduates have been able to secure employment with an external organization post-program, and four secured roles within Vision Australia as part of a fair and robust recruitment process. As part of the recruitment for the program, VA has identified approximately 100 blind or low vision job seekers who have been struggling to find ongoing work in their area of studies. VA has connected each of these job seekers with either employment services or volunteering opportunities within VA to help them in their career endeavors. As a result of the engagement with external placement organisations, VA has been able to break down barriers with the below employers who are now considering recruiting more blind or low vision staff. VA’s future goal is to connect the program with other external graduate programs to increase the employment of blind and/or low vision job seekers more broadly.
For further information on Vision Australia visit visionaustralia.org