Celebrating 2000th student joining disability internship programme

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24 Aug 2022

The Australian Network on Disability has seen its 2000th student commence the “Stepping Into” internship programme which connects university students with disabilities to employers who are building their disability confidence and are looking for trainees.

Briannah Milne is the 2000th person to be part of its program.

A computing science student at the University of Queensland, Briannah was selected for an internship in the IT department at law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

Briannah told The Australian Financial Review she was becoming “worn down” earlier this year as her attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was stopping her from getting the chance to show off her IT skills to future employers.

“I spent most of the first half of this year applying over and over again to different companies, making it most of the way through the process. I was getting kicked out of the running before I could show what I could do.”

She said the “Stepping Into” programme gave her the confidence to “present myself in the way I wanted them [employers] to see me.”

Twice a year, the Australian Network on Disability recruits university students who meet the employer’s job description. The students complete an internship either during their winter or summer semester break, working with leaders to gain practical experience and confidence in the workplace.

Students do a minimum of 152 hours, either as a four-week full-time block or flexibly across a longer period.  They work at the organisation’s head office or branch locations giving them a chance to experience a range of tasks and project challenges.

“’Stepping Into’ now runs across all states and territories and welcomes students from all disciplines of study,” the Australian Network on Disability’s program manager Isabel Heiner said.

“It builds the capability of Australian hiring managers and people leaders to feel confident welcoming people with disabilities into workplaces, and it has fostered the development of so many incredible young people with disability who are the leaders of Australia’s future.”