Celebrating 2000th student joining our internship program

Woman wearing a button up blouse and colourful floral skirt, standing in front of a window smiling.

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

Briannah Milne is the 2000th person to be part of the Stepping Into internship 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.

Exam-style situations were very stressful, due to her ADHD, so when the interview process progressed to a skills test, Briannah struggled.

I have a lot of issues with remembering things in exam situations if I don’t have written notes,” Briannah said. “I find it very difficult to recall information at the drop of a hat … I completely blank out.

If the skills test was online, it was fine. “But if you are programming in front of this person, and you have to explain exactly what you’re doing and why you’re doing it that, then that’s the exact same exam environment that I really don’t do well in.

She said the Stepping Into program gave her the confidence to “present myself in the way I wanted them [employers] to see me”. And being shown “how to succeed at the same level as people who don’t have these disabilities”.

David Anthony, the Corrs partner in charge of diversity and inclusion programs, told The Australian Financial Review the firm had “people with lived experience of disability working in all our offices”.

We reached out to Australian Disability Network a few years ago and our relationship has grown since, with Briannah being our first intern as part of the Stepping Into program,” David said.

“As someone with a disability, I know how important internships like the Stepping Into program are at driving inclusion.

Twice a year we recruit 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 Disability Network’s program manager Isabel Heiner said.

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

Want to be part of this highly successful program?

Applications for employers to find Summer 2022-23 interns closes on the 19th August. Applications to find Winter 2023 interns opens of 16th January, 2023. Reach out to the Programs team at rosie.lane@AusDN.org.au or call 02 8270 9200.

Internship job descriptions will be available for students from 1st September, 2022. All roles will be available on our website.

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