The Eye to the Future Internship project aims to change perceptions about hiring someone who is blind or vision impaired and highlight the skills, knowledge and diversity they can bring to a workplace.
To do this, we will connect and work with employers who have the capacity to offer paid internships for people who are blind or vision impaired.
An internship has clear benefits to host and employee.
- A chance to enhance organisational diversity and inclusion
- Engage an experienced worker who can bring skills and abilities to your workplace
- Explore different ways of working and challenge the norms
- Opportunity to create new contacts
- Gain new perspectives on organisational issues
- Help with projects or tasks that you’re struggling to complete
- Help a student close the gap with real-world experience in an internship
- Increase productivity
- Foster leadership skills in other employees
- Opportunity to attend BCA’s 2022 Employment Symposium
BCA will support employers and interns every step of the way. We can source suitable applicants for employers and can assist in selecting the appropriate candidates. We will also help both employer and intern through the recruitment process, provide guidance around accessibility and assistive technology options, and remain in contact with you both throughout the duration of the internship.
This support is all provided free of charge, the only cost to you being the wages you negotiate and pay directly to the intern.
How to Apply
To apply for our internship program, simply fill out our Expression of Interest form.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long are the Internships?
To provide both employer and intern the best outcomes from the placement we recommend a minimum of 8 hours per week over 13 to 26 weeks. However, this is negotiable.
Will you provide adaptive or assistive technology in the workplace?
If the internship is for a minimum of 8 hours per week over a minimum of 13 weeks, Job Access (www.jobaccess.gov.au) may be able to assess and provide the intern with assistive technology as soon as the contract is signed. This can give the intern the opportunity to get themselves set up and using the new technology as soon as they commence employment.
What do I pay an intern?
Interns are paid Award Wages, or if your company has an Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA), they would be paid in line with your EBA.
What direct support is available to me or the intern?
BCA will provide ongoing support to both the employer and the intern. This support will include:
- Assistance in the placement process that includes, resume assistance, interview preparation where necessary
- Initiating the application to the workplace
- Assistance coordinating resources for workplace modifications or assessments
- A point of reference while on the job to discuss how things are going and if you have any needs that may be appropriate.
Alternatively, we can assist in registering with a Disability Employment Service (DES) if additional support is required.
How will an intern access our workplace location?
People who are blind or vision impaired are often well skilled in the use of transport and navigating the community. However, we can arrange for orientation and mobility (O&M) to take place. This is done by an O&M service coming to the workplace and orientating the intern around the physical workplace.
Internship Application Process
This process outlines the steps which will be taken in the Internship component of this project.
Creating the Internship
Blind Citizens Australia (BCA) will work with employers to identify Internship roles, or will assist in creating these opportunities. The positions will be in varied industries across Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.
Who can apply?
The positions will be exclusively open for people who are blind or vision impaired to apply. We expect that applicants would either be suitably skilled or qualified or have a particular interest in the industry or role.
Advertising the Internship
The positions will be advertised to BCA members, through BCA networks and the broader community using existing contacts, email lists, RPH radio networks, and through social media and our website.
Applications for Internship
A time frame will be set for each application and BCA will accept applications from suitable candidates.
Project staff will review each application for each position. In the event the application requires amendments such as formatting or grammar, this feedback will be provided to the applicant. The applicant will then be able to resubmit their amended application, providing it is within the application time frame.
While internships are often entry level, it may be that a person needs a particular skill set or interest in a certain industry to apply for some roles. For example, an Administration position may require someone with base computer skills.
In the event there is selection criteria, only suitably qualified and skilled applications will be forwarded to the employer.
After applications have been provided to the employer, the employer will interview the applicants. BCA will assist applicants to prepare for the interview and assist in developing any additional supports required.
Accepting a role
Any applicants who are offered an Internship will be provided with an offer of employment and contract from their employer. BCA will require candidates to sign an agreement.
Successful candidates will commence employment in a time agreed internship. They will be provided all the information necessary to undertake their role. Support and supervision will be provided by the employer and where necessary BCA will support both the employer and the employee to access any additional supports, such as workplace modifications or assistive technology.
BCA project staff will make contact with employers and employees fortnightly and collect feedback, provide assistance, and link to external services where necessary.
Ending the Internship
The Internship will have an agreed time frame, start and end dates. There is no obligation for the employer to offer ongoing employment at the end of the Internship. However, employers are encouraged and supported to offer ongoing employment where there is capacity.
After the Internship
BCA project staff will assist interns to access a reference and feedback from their employer. We will also assist with any interest in linking with a Disability Employment Service (DES) after the placement for ongoing job seeking and employment opportunities.
Evaluating the Process
BCA project staff will ask both the employer and the intern to complete an evaluation of the process and experience. This information will be used to report back to BCA’s funding body and to inform future projects.
Post Placement Opportunities
Some interns and their employers may be invited to attend the Employment Symposium in 2022, hosted by BCA. This invitation may involve being part of the Symposium program, discussing the experience, and providing feedback to others.
Additionally, some interns and their employers may be invited to be part of case studies and stories to share with the BCA community.
For more information, please contact Blind Citizens Australia on 1800 033 660 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Blind Citizens Australia Eye to the Future project is funded by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) – Independence Linkage and Capacity-Buidling (ILC) – Employment Participation fund.