Each year, the Vision Australia Career Start program provides graduates who are blind or have low vision with an opportunity to develop their employment skills in a professional environment.
The program consists of a nine-month paid position at Vision Australia, followed by a three-month paid position at an external organisation.
Each Career Start position is tailored to the individual graduate, with positions available each year in a range of departments including marketing, communications, human resources, fundraising, allied health and more.
Anushka was part of the 2020 Career Start intake and spent her time at Vision Australia as an information officer with the National Contact Centre. In this role she fielded phone enquiries from clients and the general public and helped connect them with the right information and services.
“[In the NCC] We’re the frontline, we answer queries and deal with clients on the phone, to check appointments, see if they’ve received referrals, assisting clients as best we can,” Anushka said.
For Anushka, completing the Career Start program has helped her understand her career goals, as well achieve some personal ones.
“My career goals would be to work in the public sector. I’ve discovered through this program that I want to work in client services and help people.
“Because of the confidence and skills gained in this program, I was able to fulfil my dream of owning a property by myself, and I did it ahead of schedule. I had dreamed to do this by the age of 25 and reached this goal at the age of 24.”
Margaret Thompson, Vision Australia National Contact Centre manager, said Anushka’s experience shows the importance of the Career Start program in supporting people who are blind or have low vision to develop their employment skills.
“What was very clear in the beginning was the sense of loss Anushka felt. She was unsure if she was cut out for this but with some clear direction and constructive feedback, she has grown in self-confidence and has excelled in meeting the requirements of an information officer,” Margaret said.
“Anushka has learnt that she is ambitious, she has found self-assurance and self-confidence in what she brings to the table. She now sees a career and a future for herself in the workforce.”
Similarly, Anushka said the support she received while at Vision Australia was exactly what she needed.
“Having such an amazing manager and team right out of the door at your job made the experience so nice and welcoming,” Anushka said.
“I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention my employment consultant Joelle, we had regular catch-ups to discuss how the program was going, and I largely attribute my ability to meet my KPIs to her constantly encouraging me.”
2021 will see a record six graduates join the Vision Australia workforce through the Career Start Graduate Program, the most in a single year of the program’s history. Find out how the Career Start program could help you reach your career goals.