In 2019/2020 BCA received funding through the National Disability Insurance Agency, Information Linkages and Capacity Building to deliver an Employment related project.
‘An Eye to the Future’ positively promoted people who are blind or vision impaired to potential employers. It also provided information and support to those employers.
We created a series of short films of people who are blind or vision impaired and currently working. These were designed to showcase the diversity of roles and experiences people who are blind have within employment. You can locate the videos on the Eye to the Future website here BCA Recruiting – Welcome To An Eye To the Future
An online platform was established for information, resources and interaction between employees and employers and provides a place for people to discuss all things employment. BCA Recruiting – Welcome To An Eye To the Future. You can follow the conversation and all things employment at the Eye to the Future Facebook page Eye To The Future | Facebook
Our Internship program was designed to link jobseekers directly to employers. As this part of the project launched, the global pandemic hit Australia. Unable to pursue a significant number of the internships due to workforce standdown, we continued to support those who were able to work remotely. BCA are committed to working with employers who have the capacity to take on an intern and welcome any inquiries about sourcing a suitable intern candidate.
To showcase all of these elements, we had planned to host an Employment Symposium in mid 2020. Unfortunately with the global pandemic and the restrictions around large group gatherings we were unable to host this event. As a result we held 2 online workshops for employers, recruiters, diversity and inclusion managers to showcase the ways in which employers have supported people who are blind or vision impaired in the workplace. The workshops covered topics such as accessible recruitment, job specs and reasonable adjustments, real examples of work place modifications and facilitated discussion.
The Internship project aims to change perceptions about hiring someone who is blind or vision impaired and highlight the skills, knowledge and diversity they can bring to a workplace.
To do this, we will continue working with employers who have the capacity to offer paid internships for people who are blind or vision impaired.
An internship has clear benefits to host and employee.
- A chance to develop organisational diversity and inclusion
- Engage an experienced worker who can bring skills and abilities to your workplace
- Explore different ways of working and challenge the norms
- Opportunity to create new contacts
- Gain new perspectives on organisational issues
- Help with projects or tasks that you’re struggling to complete
- Test drive the talent and gain brand advocates
- Increase productivity
- Foster leadership skills in other employees
- Opportunity to attend and present at BCA’s 2020 Employment Symposium
BCA seeks to support employers and interns every step of the way. We can source suitable applicants for employers and can assist in selecting the appropriate candidates. We help both employer and intern through the recruitment process, provide guidance around accessibility and assistive technology options, and remain in contact with you both throughout the duration of the internship.
All this at no charge, the only cost to you being the wages you negotiate and pay directly to the intern.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How long are the Internships? To provide both employer and intern the best outcomes from the placement we request a minimum of 8 hours per week over 13 to 26 weeks. However this is negotiable.
- Will you provide adaptive or assistive technology in the workplace? If the internship is for 8 hours per week over a minimum of 13 weeks, Job Access (www.jobaccess.gov.au) may be able to provide items as soon as the offer has been made and before commencement of employment.
- What do I pay an intern? Award wages or rates inline with your EBA.
- What direct support is available to myself or the intern? BCA will provide ongoing support to both employer and intern. Alternatively we can assist in registering with a Disability Employment Service (DES) if additional support is required.
- How will an intern access our workplace location? People who are blind or vision impaired are often well skilled in the use of transport and navigating the community. However we can arrange for orientation and mobility (O&M) to take place. A service will come to the workplace and orientate the intern to the physical workplace.
Internship Application Process
This process outlines the steps which will be taken in the Internship component of this project.
- Creating the Internship
BCA will work with employers to identify Internship roles, or will assist in creating these opportunities. The positions will be in varied industries across states and territories of Australia.
- Who can apply?
The positions will be exclusively open for people who are blind or vision impaired to apply. Applicants should be suitably skilled or qualified, or have particular interest in the industry or role.
- Advertising the Internship
The positions will be advertised to BCA members, through BCA networks and the broader community using email lists, RPH radio networks, through social media and our website, and on employer websites.
- Applications for Internship
A time frame will be set for each application and BCA will accept the applications from suitable candidates.
Project staff will review each application for each position. In the event the application requires amendments such as formatting or grammar, this feedback will be provided to the applicant. The applicant will then be able to resubmit their amended application, providing it is within the application time frame.
- Forwarding Applications
While internships are often entry level, it may be that a person needs a particular skill set or interest in a certain industry to apply for some roles. For example; an Administration position may require someone with base computer skills.
In the event there is selection criteria, only suitably qualified and skilled applications will be forwarded to the employer.
After applications have been given to the employer they may wish to hold interviews where there are multiple applicants for a single position. BCA will assist applicants to prepare for the interview and assist in developing any additional supports required.
- Accepting a role
Those people who are offered an Internship will be provided with an offer of employment and contract from their employer. BCA will require candidates to sign an agreement.
- Undertaking Internships
Successful candidates will commence employment in a time agreed internship. They will be provided all the information necessary to undertake their role. Support and supervision will be provided by the employer and where necessary BCA will support both employer and employee to access any additional supports, such as workplace modifications or assistive technology.
BCA project staff will make contact with employers and employees on a monthly basis and collect feedback, provide assistance and link to external services where necessary.
- Ending the Internship
The Internship will have an agreed time frame, start and end dates. There is no obligation for the employer to offer ongoing employment at the cessation of the internship. However; employers are encouraged and supported to offer ongoing employment where there is capacity.
- After the Internship
BCA project staff will assist interns to access a reference and feedback from their employer. We will also assist with any interest in linking with a Disability Employment Service (DES) after the placement for ongoing job seeking and employment opportunities.
- Evaluating the Process
BCA project staff will ask both the employer and intern to complete an evaluation of the process and experience. This information will be used to report back to the funding body and to inform future ventures.
- Post Placement Opportunities
Some interns and their employers may be invited to attend the Employment Symposium in 2020, hosted by BCA. This invitation may involve being part of the Symposium program, discussing the experience, and providing feedback to others.
Additionally, some interns and their employers may be invited to be part of case studies and stories to share with the BCA community.
If you have any questions about whether this is a good fit for you or would just like to learn more about An Eye To The Future project please contact Naomi Barber – Project Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1800 033 660.
Funded by NDIA – ILC – Employment Participation (EP) Grants