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University is an education in the broadest sense. Our University section will enable you to make the most of your time at University and take advantage of all of the opportunities available to you.
Making the most of your time at University
In this section you can find all the advice and guidance you need as you apply for jobs and prepare for interviews.
In the Recruitment section there is a wealth of information about completing applications forms, online tests, and the various stages in the recruitment. Whilst the Disability section provides advice on how to manage your disability during the recruitment process including information on how to inform an employer of what you require and referring to your disability during an interview.
Managing Your Disability
The Organisations section is where you can find out about various organisations, the opportunities they offer and their individual approach to disability.
Profiles / Stories
It’s always great to hear from those who have been successful.
This section profiles many individuals, working across different industries, at various stages of their careers. Their interviews demonstrate that is possible to have a successful career regardless of whether or not you have a disability. They also illustrate the adjustments that can be made in the workplace.
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Making the transition from education into employment is a challenging process for anyone however it can be even more daunting for individuals who have a disability or long term health condition.
You may have questions such as:
The following sections aims to address the common issues and concerns raised by students with a disability or long-term health condition. The information provided here is generic as opposed to disability specific.
For many individuals, telling a future employer that you have a disability or long-term health condition is one of the hardest parts of applying for a job and preparing for an interview. However, not informing them may seriously jeopardise your ability to demonstrate your talent and potential for the job.
Even if you are successful in getting your dream role without being open about your disability without the support you require you may find every day a struggle.
In the main body of the application form, you are likely to be asked: Please inform us if you have any specific requirements during the recruitment process. The information you provide here will be used to implement the adjustments and support you require.
This is separate to the equal opportunities form where you are asked more directly: do you consider yourself to have a disability? This information is used to monitor the organisation?s demographics and to ensure that their employee base is representative of society.
Regardless of why you are telling them, you do not have to go into the details of your disability. Rather, focus on your disability within the context of the interview and job and what adjustments you may need.
You can articulate the adjustments you require without going into the details of your disability or condition.
If you inform an employer of your disability after you have been rejected, they are under no obligation to re-interview you.
On the application form you will be asked what adjustments you require. The recruitment team use this information to implement your adjustments. It is not passed on to anyone else without your permission.
The information you provide on the Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form is totally separate to the interview process. It is not viewed by anyone involved in recruitment.
When completing a CV or application form exactly the same principles apply for disabled applicants as they do for those without a disability. However, the difference is that you may need to explain certain elements of your application that relate specifically to your disability e.g. a gap in your education, lower academics or a lack of work experience.
By being open and honest from the beginning you will find it easier to request any support or adjustments you may need later in the recruitment process.
How you decide to account for the gap in your application is a personal decision - you need to decide how you are most comfortable doing this.
When screening your application form, employers will take genuine mitigating circumstances relating to your disability into consideration. However, you need to be very clear that it is due to your disability.
As with Accounting for gaps in your education there are various different stages where you can explain your mitigating circumstances.
Keep what you say brief and to the point whilst ensuring you provide sufficient information for the employer to understand the situation
If you have never previously worked, it is only natural that an employer may have concerns about your ability to do so. If you have work experience it will be much easier for you to address your employer?s apprehensions.
Drawing on your disability to demonstrate your strengths may be the most effective way of demonstrating what is being assessed. Remember to draw upon a wide variety of examples to answer questions to demonstrate your range of experience.
An individual who has a disability or long term health condition may require an adjustment in the workplace to enable them to efficiently and effectively do their job.
You may have already have had adjustments during the recruitment process or you may request them only once you have started in your role. Either way it is imperative to ask for what you need.
The Equalities Act 2010 states:
Recently employers have started referring to reasonable adjustments as workplace adjustments.
Adjustments are also made for you once you are in the workplace to ensure that you can perform the role, as well as to demonstrate and fulfil your potential.
Adjustments may also vary depending on the different situations. You may require something different during the interview process in comparison to when you join the organisation. Equally, your needs may change over time and with it the corresponding support and adjustments.
It is understandable that some employers may feel uncomfortable talking to you about your disability and associated needs as this is potentially very personal and sensitive information. By engaging in open dialogue with the employer, you can help them to have these essential conversations more easily. You can help them to better understand what you require and why. One way of approaching this is to explain the consequences of not receiving the support or adjustments that you require.
In some cases the adjustments you had during the recruitment process can be used as a basis for what you need in the work place. If not you will need to initiate a conversation about what you require.
As with the requesting support and adjustments for the recruitment process, it is a two way process involving both you and your new employer. Open and honest conversations are required to establish how you can best fulfil your role.
During the recruitment process it will usually be someone from the recruitment team who will liaise with you regarding your needs. Where as once an offer has been made it would be advisable to talk to your line manager.
Depending on what adjustments are required, other departments throughout the organisation may be involved, including IT, Facilities, Health and Safety, and HR. It may be sometimes be appropriate to involve occupational health professionals in your discussions.
You may require advice from others such as occupational health professionals or organisations who specialise in advising and assessing workplace adjustments. Be confident in asking for support to help you work out what you require.
There is external funding available from Access to Work (AtW); this is government funding covering the additional costs of employing disabled people.
However you must understand that it is difficult for an employer to provide what you need if you don?t tell them.
Rather than discussing your disability, focus on the impact your condition has on your ability to undertake the role.
The most effective way of informing a future employer about your disability or long-term health condition is to have a conversation with them. However this is not always possible and you will frequently be asked to provide
information about your situation on your application form.
The following are examples of the type of information you could provide to an employer when informing them of your disability or explaining a certain aspect of your application form.
Please note, that these are simply examples of what you might say and how you may say it. Please do not use these as templates; you need to personalise what you say to suit your own situation.
Managing various doctor appointments, meetings, and study groups helped develop my time management skills; my academic performance has not suffered since my illness due to this collaboration. This experience has revealed my strength and resilience when facing a significant challenge, and demonstrates my ability to adapt to any situation.
Shortly after my first-year exams, my university?s Disability Services organised an assessment to determine whether I have dyslexia. The assessment confirmed that I did have dyslexia and I communicated with my university?s Disability Services to obtain adjustments that have significantly improved my ability to study and learn. My considerably improved second-year exam results show that I only required a few simple adjustments to succeed, and I anticipate further improvement in my final year. I trust that (FIRM NAME) will appreciate this when considering my application.
Before leaving university I was offered a place at Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, to begin a short-term commission with the Yorkshire Regiment in January 2011.
However, in September 2010 I contracted a rare and aggressive form of bacterial meningitis which subsequently left me severely disabled. I was told that I would be paralysed from the neck down for the rest of my life. After a lengthy stay in hospital I was discharged in August 2011 and began an intensive period of rehabilitation.
Today, after much hard work, I have regained significant use of my upper body and continue to regain strength in my legs. It was this recovery that encouraged me to take a Masters to prepare myself for a return to work.
I wish to achieve the same goals from work as I did prior to falling ill and feel that I have much to offer (FIRM NAME) not only in an academic and intellectual capacity, but also through my interpersonal skills and strength of character.
During my second term at university I lost 50% of my vision in a very short period of time. Obviously this was a very stressful time for me, and I decided to take some time out whilst my condition continued to change and I adapted to my new situation before returning to my studies.
During the two years that I took out , as well as intense medical treatment, I also worked part-time in a small law firm. My confidence returned during this time and I felt ready to return to university to start a new course in 2011. Not only have I participated fully in university life, I have also achieved academically as my exam results show.
Managing my disability has specifically forced me to develop my communication and influencing skills as a result of having to work with service providers. I have also developed my ability to plan and organise as a result of coordinating my doctor?s appointments around my university schedule. In addition, by working with my university?s Disability Services, I have advanced my ability to work effectively in a team. These skills will transfer well to a career at (FIRM NAME), and demonstrate that I have much to offer.
For several years, I have suffered from anxiety and panic attacks when under severe stress. I experienced anxiety attacks during the exams for (MODULE) and (MODULE), resulting in a lower mark for these modules. Since I did not fail, I was ineligible to re-sit these exams. I trust that (FIRM NAME) will take this into consideration when reviewing my application.