Helping navigate the gap between education and purposeful work

25 May 2018
  • It takes young people 4.7 years to enter full-time work after leaving full-time education.
  • Unemployment, job insecurity and poor work conditions are the three biggest work-related risk factors for mental illness.
  • For young people who are blind or have low vision, this can be compounded by issues such as accessibility and employer perceptions.

To help combat this, Vision Australia has provided a submission to the VicHealth Staying on Track forum providing possible solutions to help support 18-25 year olds during the gap between education and getting a good job.

Vision Australia government relations and policy adviser Kate Begley said the organisation believes major changes must occur within schools, universities and workplaces to help make the transition from education to work faster, easier and less stressful for young people who are blind or have low vision.

“We’ve suggested a number of solutions on how we can help young adults who are blind or have low vision through this important transition and we’re excited to hear what the group will think of the ideas,” Ms Begley said.

“Breaking into the workforce is challenging for young people, especially for those who are blind or have low vision, as they are very often still building experience and confidence and if we can find a way to make this a bit easier, it’ll go a long way to fixing some of the issues we’re seeing today.”

Vision Australia’s proposed solutions:

- Provide individualised career counselling to young people who are blind or have low vision with families of students who are blind or have low vision included in career counselling conversations;

- Make sure all students are given the opportunity to participate in meaningful work experience during high school;

- Provide role models with lived experience of blindness or low vision, who can speak with students about how they completed their education and found work;

- Provide problem solving counselling which is tailored to the specific challenges people who are blind or have low vision face - to help decrease the risk of depression and loneliness;

- Educate teachers, students and employers about the lives of people who are blind or have low vision to provide insights, understanding and break down common misconceptions and bias; and

- Remove systemic accessibility barriers such as inaccessible information and communications technology (ICT), inaccessible websites and Apps from education institutions and workplaces.

Once all submissions have been received by VicHealth, a group of 50 young adults will read the evidence and the proposed solutions, discuss the information and debate the ideas (online and in person) before coming to an agreement on recommendations in response to the problem. At the end of the forum, the group will produce a report of their recommendations.

A Vision Australia staff member, a young adult from the blindness and low vision community, will be attending the forum and participating in discussions to help formulate recommendations that include people who are blind or have low vision.

Read Vision Australia’s full submission here.

What has your employment journey been like as someone who is blind or has low vision? Complete our National Employment Survey 2018 and you could help create more employment opportunities for our community.