Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Stepping Into Winter 2021

Friday, January 15th, 2021

Stepping Into Internship Program – Nominations Open for Winter 2021!

The Stepping Into Program has connected 1,508 students with disability to leading Australian employers since 2005.

87% of Stepping Into supervisors agreed that they were ‘more confident about managing or supporting a team member with disability’ after participating in the program.

Engaging with the Stepping Into program is simple. Australian Network on Disability (AND) find talented students with disability and assess their eligibility.

They’ll manage student and workplace briefings prior, as well as the evaluation and feedback process after internships are completed.

Dates for the Winter 2021 Program

  • Complete the Stepping Into Participation Form with a detailed position description by 28 February 2021.
  • Commence interviews in May after AND has completed screening and shortlisting.
  • Run internships in July

Dial in to a free webinar for more information

Isabel Heiner, Program Manager, will discuss the Stepping Into Winter 2021 process, timeline, the support AND provides hiring managers and supervisors, and great outcomes from our last Program Evaluation.

  • When: 2:00-2:30pm Tuesday 2nd February 2021
  • How: Click Here to Join the Webinar (or dial in to the audio at 1800 571 212, Conference ID: 575 182 743#)

*Please advise if you have any accessibility requirements for the session. We can arrange live captioning with 72 hours notice.

Still working from home due to COVID-19?

Reach out to AND to discuss how you can still plan for a Stepping Into intern with flexibility in work arrangements.

  • Contact Isabel Heiner on 03 9614 2089 or if you have any questions.

Specialist Disability Accommodation Available

Thursday, January 7th, 2021

Specialist Disability Accommodation Apartments Coming to Clayton South!

  • Do you need to find a new place to live because your current home isn’t meeting your disability needs?
  • Do you need a lot of disability support (more than 6 hours every day)?

Then Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) might suit you.

Here are some short videos that explain SDA.

Our SDA Housing Advice Line can answer your questions about SDA – call 1300 61 64 63.

Huntington Apartments at Jacksons Green – Clayton South

This development includes 10 SDA apartments.

The SDA apartments are High Physical Support and Fully Accessible design category, which means they are for people who use a wheelchair.

If required, the High Physical Support apartments are also able to have a ceiling hoist installed and things like doors, lights, blinds and air conditioning can be automated.

Huntington Apartments will have an onsite hub for 24/7 ‘concierge’ support. This means there is always support close by if you need it, but not in your apartment. You choose who provides your day-to-day supports.

You can read more about these SDA apartments here.

Are these apartments right for you?

  • Are you over the age of 18 and eligible for the NDIS?
  • Do you use a wheelchair?
  • Do you want to live on your own?
  • Do you want to use technology to do more things for yourself, so that you don’t need as much support?
  • Can you spend time on your own in your home without support (but with access to on-call support if you need it)?
  • Can you live close to your neighbours (sharing lifts, corridors and common spaces)?

If you answer ‘yes’ to the questions above, then these apartments might suit you.

But I don’t use a wheelchair!

There are other SDA properties in other locations that are for people who can walk unaided but who still need a high level of support each day.

More information

  • To find out more call our SDA Housing Advice Line on 1300 61 64 63 or contact Penny Stevenson directly on 0477 714 317 (Voice or SMS) or email

PACE Mentoring: Applications Open!

Monday, December 21st, 2020

Applications for PACE Mentoring 2021 are open now!

PACE Mentoring is an industry mentoring program that matches jobseekers and students with disability to mentors from leading Australian businesses. It is free to participate, and gives jobseekers an opportunity to develop employability skills and confidence in a workplace setting.

To apply for PACE Mentoring, click here. Applications close 28th February 2021.

PACE Mentoring Information Sessions

Over the coming months, the AND Programs Team will be hosting online information sessions to provide more information about the PACE Program.

We invite you to dial in if you are a student or jobseeker with disability, a parent or carer of someone with disability, or you work with students and jobseekers with disability.

The session times are: 

  • Tuesday 19th January 4-5pm
  • Thursday 4th February 3-4pm

*(Melbourne/Sydney/Canberra Time)

Click here for information on how to join.

How it works

Students and jobseekers are paired with an experienced industry professional who will arrange 8 mentoring meetings within a four-month period.

The meetings last between one and two hours. Pairs discuss the mentees career goals and aspirations, and mentors help to develop a personal and professional development plan.

Conversations include:

  • Reviewing resumes
  • Writing cover letters
  • Practicing mock interviews
  • Worksite visits
  • Networking with other professionals
  • Discussing workplace adjustments
  • Building confidence

Who are the Mentors?

In 2021, we have mentors with a range of professional backgrounds from organisations including ANZ Bank, Nestle, SBS, IBM, Gilbert + Tobin, Department of Finance, Accenture, Bendigo & Adelaide Bank, Melbourne Water, Arup Group, Court Services Queensland, RMIT, QBE, NAB, Dentons, AGL, Jacobs, VIC Department of Justice.

Mentoring opportunities are in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth & Adelaide. There are also some virtual mentoring opportunities for students and jobseekers based in other locations across Australia.


Anyone 18 years or over with any type of disability, mental health condition or chronic illness is eligible for the PACE Mentoring Program.


Applications close 28th February 2021.

  • If you have any questions, or require an alternative application method, contact the team at or call 03 9621 2276.

Supporting Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students Online

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

Guidelines – Supporting Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students Online

ADCET and the NDCO program are excited to launch Guidelines – Supporting Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students Online. This resource is a part of a COVID response project, funded by DESE.

Content includes the impacts and challenges of online learning and provides information around everything from using captions, speech to text technology and tips and tricks when teaching.

The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic led to multiple challenges across all levels of education. Many of these challenges centred around the provision of accessible and inclusive online education for people with disability.

The guidelines were developed by Joe-Anne Kek-Pamenter who works at Griffith University and is Deaf herself. And the project was overseen by Cathy Easte, Bobby Blackson and Gary Kerridge.

How to Avoid Eyestrain and Dry Eyes

Tuesday, December 8th, 2020

How to Avoid Eyestrain and Dry Eyes When Staring at a Screen All Day

*By Optometrist and Dry Eye Clinician (and former Monash student) Dr Leigh Plowman

Do you stare at a screen all day?

When you’re trying to apply yourself for study, screen time is important to help you succeed.

You may be using assistive devices, electronic text or software to make seeing easier.

You may even be spending some of your recreation time looking at a screen.

Increased screen time can lead to Computer Vision Syndrome. This may cause symptoms like:

  • Tired eyes
  • Sore eyes
  • Dry Eyes
  • Watery Eyes
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Light sensitivity

When you stare at a screen, your eyes have to do three things.

They have to focus or adjust to what you’re looking at. Like a camera on your smartphone.

Secondly, both eyes need to point at the same thing smoothly and comfortably.

Thirdly, your eyes need to keep an even layer of tears across them.

The longer we stare at a screen, the more potential strain on each of these parts of our eyesight.

Whether you use a laptop, smartphone or tablet, your eyes tend to blink less often and less fully. This may be because you don’t want to miss a detail in what you’re looking at. Your brain subconsciously tells you not to blink.

Studying and screen time go together. But what if you could reduce screen time even while studying all day?

9 Tips to Avoid Eyestrain and Dry Eyes

  • Put your most addictive devices in another room

When you’re studying, put your phone on a bench or desk in another room. Or put it in a drawer that’s a few metres away from you. Separate your working space from your sleeping space, if possible.

  • Add a simple blink app on your laptop

Eyeblink is a simple app that you can put on your laptop or desktop. It works for Mac or Windows. It’s like a blink coach for your laptop. It monitors your blinking. The app reminds you to have regular breaks, or do blinking exercises. I use it myself and love it for writing articles.

  • Use more printed material

Studies show that our blink rate improves when reading printed material, compared to staring at a screen. Be environmentally friendly. Print on both sides of paper. Use recycled paper where possible. Give your eyes a break from staring at a screen. Read from a paper copy instead.

  • Switch to more comfortable contact lenses

If you wear contact lenses, screen time can make them feel uncomfortable or gritty. Your eyes can appear blurry or filmy. Look for contact lenses that have the best built-in moisture. Talk to your optometrist about daily disposable lenses. If you need special contact lenses, these can also be tailored to staying moist and comfortable.

  • Don’t use screen time as a reward

Looking for a mini-reward? Indulge in a one-minute mindfulness break. One example is a smartwatch apps called ‘Breathe’. After you come back to your task, you’ll feel great and come back to your task refreshed.

For bigger rewards, avoid using Youtube or Netflix as a reward. Put on your favourite music. Go for a walk, ride or run. Buy yourself a coffee at your favourite café.

  • Boost your non- screen time activities

Love getting a mental boost from exercise? Book exercise three times per week. You may find that exercise in the morning or afternoon is more energising for you. You’ll benefit mentally, physically and your eyes will feel better too.

  • Define roles for your device

Do you rely on your laptop for study? Minimise activities on your device that are leisure related. Keep those activities for a separate device. Use your main device for purposeful, interactive study uses. Avoid passive scrolling or incidental chores.

  • Track your smartphone usage

Your smartphone can help you to track your usage of your phone. It’s easy to setup. You can view your daily or weekly statistics. See which apps you spend the most time in.

  • Book an eye test

Ever had an eye test? Are you due to get your eyes checked? Your Optometrist looks in-depth at your eyes. They assess how well your eyes to focus and work together. If it’s been more than one year, you might want to consider making an appointment.

If you’re looking to apply yourself in your study, these tips can help you to avoid eyestrain or dry eyes.

Add the easiest tip first. Then add more tips to help you to build momentum.

For more information about Monash Disability Support Services, including assistive technologies, visit this link .

Bullied, Belittled and Dumped

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020

Bullied, belittled and dumped for having cerebral palsy, Dale wouldn’t change a thing about herself


Dale Weller has had to fight, figuratively and literally, to be treated just like everyone else.

She wants others with disability to know they can still embrace themselves when others won’t.

“How can you value yourself when others go out of their way to tell you you’re not worth anything? My life with cerebral palsy (CP) hasn’t been easy. Not so much because of the CP, but because of how others treat me when they see I’m disabled.” – Dale Weller

Industry AccessAbility Week

Friday, November 20th, 2020

Join the GradWISE Industry AccessAbility Week!

Monday 8th of February to Friday 12th of February

Would you like the inside scoop from leading industry employers in preparation for your 2021 Graduate applications?

If you are a university student living with a disability, mental illness or injury, we would like to invite you to join GradWISE’s Industry AccessABILITY Week!

This is a jam packed week, showcasing a wide variety of industry partners who will share information about their organisation, the application process, and tips to help you stand out in your application.

Presenters include:

  • Deloitte
  • Telstra
  • Coles
  • Department of Defence
  • Victorian Government
  • Accenture
  • EY
  • NBN
  • Red Cross
  • And Many More!

*To join GradWISE’s Industry Accessibility Week, Register Here!

Impact of Face Masks Survey

Thursday, November 19th, 2020

Study: Impact of Face Masks on Communication

The Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology at the University of Melbourne is undertaking research into the impact of face masks on communication.

Face Masks Can Make Communication Difficult

This study seeks to know more about the impact of face masks on spoken communication for adult listeners.

The aim is to understand what helps to make communication easier.

They want to hear from any adult, with or without hearing difficulties.

Accessibility Checks for Return to Work

Thursday, November 12th, 2020

*From: Australian Network on Disability

Including Accessibility Checks in Your Return to Work Preparations

For many of us it has been a while since we’ve had the busy morning commute, face to face meetings, and experienced the buzz of activity that we were once used to.

With a majority of people still working from home, now is the perfect time for organisations to review building accessibility and make changes that will increase accessibility and enhance user experiences.

Here are a few tips to get you thinking about how to include accessibility checks in your return to work preparations.

Eye to The Future

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020

Eye to The Future of Work

Accessibility and Inclusion Beyond 2020

Blind Citizens Australia will deliver an online interactive workshop that showcases inclusion strategy with real life examples.

Join Blind Citizens Australia to hear what has and hasn’t worked well in developing and delivering an accessible workplace, particularly in light of remote working environments, and participate in a forum where you can ask those questions you’ve always wanted to in a ‘You Can’t Ask That!’ style session.

The Forum Panel

Tuesday, 24th November 2020. 11:00am – 12:30pm

  • Matt O’Kane MBA, Director, Notion Digital Forensics
  • Pam Spelling, Service Coordinator-Capacity Building, Brisbane South Disability Service, Uniting Care.
  • Jonathon Craig, Policy and Advocacy Intern, Vision 2020
  • Janine Sherrard, General Manager Policy, Advocacy and Engagement, Vision 2020

Wednesday, 25th November 2020. 2:00pm – 3:30pm

  • Jaci Armstrong, Non-Executive Director at Accessible Arts
  • Doug McGinn, Disability Liaison Officer , University of Tasmania
  • Colin Clark, Head Student Accessibility and Wellbeing, University of Tasmania

Register NOW!

Register now to obtain new insights and tips to promote positive change within your recruitment process and employee engagement strategy.

Be a part of the inclusion change and generate a new talent pipeline for your organisations continued success.

“Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”  Verna Myers

This event is funded by the National Disability Insurance Agency, Information, Linkages and Capacity Building program.

  • Register today, this event is FREE but limited tickets are available!
  • Go to the Registration Page
  • If you have any queries, please contact Blind Citizens Australia directly on or 1800 033 660