Work Experience at University
Whether you are undertaking a Professional Placement as part of your course, or you have secured volunteer work, a part-time job, a one day shadowing experience, or even summer employment, any of these experiences during your college years will be referred to here as “Work Experience”.
Once you have your work experience organised, many students agree that actually starting it and learning how to manage your disability within the new environment can be a daunting prospect. It is true that you may need to consider some additional factors, such as:
Do I need to talk to my supervisor/manager/colleagues about my disability?
Do I need to ask for ‘Reasonable Accommodations’ so that I can succeed?
Do I need to worry about being "judged" because of my Reasonable Accommodations?
Organising a Pre-Work Experience meeting with your Disability Officer
The important thing to remember is that you don't have to do this on your own. You can make an appointment to come and see your Disability Officer and discuss how you will manage these new situations.
Rather than shy away from this area of experience, it is important to tackle these challenges. You will feel more ready for the workplace after college if you do, so don't put it off!
For more advice and suggested activities for how to prepare for the different stages of a new work experience or placement, including organising a pre-placement planning meeting with your Disability Officer, give us a call on (01) 8963111 or email email@example.com and take a look at the following guides:
- Trinity College Guide for Student with Disabilities on Placement
- Transition to Employment Guide
- Reasonable Accommodations
What are ‘Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace’ and how do I organise mine?
Reasonable Accommodations are any actions or adjustments that help alleviate a disadvantage that you experience because of your disability or learning difficulty. When you came to college and met with your Disability Officer, you took the first step to organising your Reasonable Accommodations for college. Maybe these included extra time in exams, or maybe they were Special Borrowing Privileges for the library, or a piece of software such as TextHelp for your computer. Whatever they were, they have to be organised and when you start a work experience the process is similar.
If you are starting a work experience during your time at college it is important to liaise with your Disability Officer and your Practice Co-ordinator (if appropriate), to make sure you are best prepared and you have any Reasonable Accommodations that you need. Even if you decide not to disclose, it is still a good idea to discuss potential challenges with your Disability Officer. A good first step is to ask yourself these questions:
- How can I decide if I want to disclose what ‘Reasonable Accommodations’ I might need to my new employers?
- How can I go about organising ‘Reasonable Accommodations’ with my new employers?
- Do I think there might be advantages/disadvantages and how would I like to manage the potential situations that I will be in?
Think about your experiences within college: exams, assignments, lectures. Before you started it was difficult to know how to manage them, but once you got going and had some support, was it a bit easier? Work Experiences will be similar, so you must make preparations BEFORE you start!
For information, guidance, and to hear about other students' experiences, check out the handbooks below: