GWN strives to support all women and welcomes this move to ensure employment in the public service is accessible for all. The newly established role of All of Government AOG Disabled Internship Relationship Manager will look to make internship programmes more accessible.


Research done with disabled students at Victoria University in 2017 highlighted the perceived barriers surrounding employment in the public service. Some were misconceptions, but many were rooted in real challenges – low visibility of disabled people in the public service, fears of stigma, concerns about supportive environments. Two of the largest concerns were that the public service wouldn’t want disabled employees, and that they’d be alone as disabled people.

As part of the Lead Toolkit Programme of work, in 2021 the role of AOG Disabled Internship Relationship Manager was established (then, as AOG Disabled Internship Coordinator). This role supports disabled students and recent graduates to access public service internships and graduate programmes. This work has two main parts – work with students, and work with internship and graduate programme managers across the public service.

With public service programme managers, the Relationship Manager works as a trusted advisor to ensure application and recruitment processes are accessible and welcoming, public service agencies are inclusive workplaces, and that successful candidates are integrated into programmes well. To support this work, programme managers are connected to existing resources such as the Lead Toolkit, We Enable Us, and in-house disability expertise.

With students, the Relationship Manager helps with identifying and applying for suitable programmes, navigating disability in the employment space, connecting students to external supports and services, liaising with recruiters and programme managers, pastoral support throughout programmes for successful students, and alternative pathways for unsuccessful students.

In the year following the establishment of this role, more than 40 programmes received support and advice on specific cases. Over 300 students attended presentations, both online and at campuses across the country. While initially scoped to work with 10-15 students, more than 60 students access the support offered.

Students who were successful in obtaining positions report satisfaction with both recruitment and employment process, and with the support they and their programme received from me. Feedback from students who were unsuccessful with applications reflected renewed confidence, increased employability, increased interest in public sector work. Many who were unsuccessful reported these improvements lead to finding employment outside the scope of this work (private sector, roles in the public sector outside of programmes). Additionally, tertiary institutions feedback indicated stronger working relationships between careers teams and disability services, improving employability of disabled students. Further, there was an increase in students utilizing careers teams and higher motivation for employment.

Following a review of the past year, 2022 sees a focus on improving the roles engagement with students outside the cities, better utilization of video conferencing as a means of increasing reach, and an increased number of programmes being supported.

For more information, or to get your agency connected to this work, please contact Chase Fox


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