Management Responsibilities Toolkit Preparation
Disabled learners and tauira can access recruitment initiatives and marketing information describes opportunities for them to participate.
Best practice standards
- General and specific learner recruitment initiatives are developed that make explicit reference to opportunities and learning support for disabled learners.
- Disabled learners feature in promotional material, including those with less obvious learning supports.
- General and specific learner recruitment initiatives assist prospective disabled learners to make appropriate educational decisions by providing information about educational pathways, support systems, entry and professional or vocational course requirements.
- Promotional material is disseminated in alternative formats to a wide range of relevant community networks that disabled learners can access.
- Prospective disabled learners are encouraged and assisted to identify their specific support requirements, ideally prior to application for admission.
- Disabled learners can access online application processes including scholarship applications.
Best practice includes transition support in recruitment
“What we do quite well, I think, is transitioning students from school into tertiary. That’s one that we do well, simply because we work really closely with our community partners.”
- Team Leader, Disability Services, Polytechnic.
Ideas and resources to consider
- Ideally, all recruitment and marketing information should be available in accessible formats. Include a section on disability support services and include pictorial representations of disabled learners alongside other learners.
- Information should include a clear and accurate statement about physical access; general, specialist, and technical support options; and designated contacts.
- Ask all learners in advance whether they have specific requirements so staff can make adequate preparations for any necessary support.
What you need to know
Key themes from the special interest groups about recruitment within current disabled learners:
- Assumption: That a prospective disabled learner knows how to find appropriate information online to plan their programme, but not all disabled people can get online.
- Open days: A lot of recruiters do not sit down with parents and explain what a pathway is so parents do not think that is an option. They think that their children should stay at home but the children may want to go study [computer] games, for example.
- Transition support in recruitment.
Engaging disabled learners
- To check out whether all recruitment and marketing information is accessible, work with a group of disabled learners with different impairments who can provide advice and feedback.
Examples of good practice
- Otago University is currently working on a Student Voices Project to showcase some learner success stories. This example from the project illustrates the types of stories that can be told and the positive impact that tertiary education study can have on a disabled person’s life.
- Increasing awareness of tertiary education for disabled learners may include:
- Initiatives targeting senior learners in secondary schools, a ‘vacation school’ for those considering tertiary study, and bridging programmes to assist learners to make the transition into tertiary study.
- A resource and planning guide and video recording for people considering tertiary study.
- Information brochures that target prospective school age or mature learners, parents and community organisations.
- Specific recruitment programmes tailored to Māori, Pacific peoples and other diverse communities.
- Tertiary providers offering scholarships for disabled secondary school learners.
The Ministry of Social Development is delivering a programme to ensure the public sector is accessible for everyone and inclusive of disabled people.
The Accessibility Charter provides advice, support, training and resources to assist senior leaders and their staff to understand the standards for providing material in various alternate formats for disabled people. The aim is to improve information and communication access for disabled people across the public sector.
This is supported by the Disabled Persons Organisation’s (DPOs) who can also provide advice and support on alternative formats for people with a learning disability, those that are blind or vision impaired, the Deaf community, etc.
Various public sector departments, DHBs and other sector organisations have already signed up. Tertiary providers could do the same.
- For access to community networks contact your disability support staff or your local disability information service.
- Exploring the retention and success of disabled learners.