Member News: How Salem secured a role in Telstra’s Graduate Program, thanks to GradWISE
As a teenager, Salem experienced a life-threatening brain haemorrhage with a one per cent chance of survival. He spent several months in a coma and had to re-learn how to walk, talk, eat and even swallow. Determined not to let his injuries slow him down, Salem returned to complete his last three years of high school and went on to study at university.
In July 2019, Salem completed a Masters of Information Technology, receiving a high score and gaining great work experience during his studies. Despite his qualification and work experience shining through on paper, Salem found it extremely difficult to find work in the IT industry after graduation.
As a result of his injuries, Salem has a speech impairment, which acted as a barrier when applying for graduate positions. He found it challenging to go through an interview process and therefore rarely found himself in the position where he was considered for employment.
Realising that he required support, Salem reached out to his career advisor at University.
“I was determined to find something, and I knew I needed help as I could not do it alone,” he explained.
The career adviser told him about GradWISE, a program which helps people living with a disability enter the workforce.
Only a week after his first meeting with his GradWISE Career Coach, Grace, Salem secured several interviews, which due to the COVID-19 pandemic, needed to be conducted over the phone or via video conferencing.
This presented an issue in itself, as digital interviews made it difficult for the interviewer to understand Salem. With that in mind, Grace made the necessary steps to support Salem through each process.
“Grace worked extremely hard to contact the different businesses to organise suitable adjustments for me, which gave me the confidence that I wouldn’t be disadvantaged during the interview,” explained Salem.
“I met with Grace every couple of weeks, and we were in constant communication via email. Before I submitted each application, I would send my answers to Grace. She would then tell me what the recruiters were looking for and the changes I needed to make to ensure I would stand out from the other applicants.”
In February 2020, Salem attended a two-day masterclass with GradWISE where multiple companies spoke about their graduate programs. Evelyn Crowe and Chris Smith from Telstra’s Early Careers team were there and spoke about how Telstra works with, and supports, candidates and employees living with disabilities. They instantly noticed Salem.
Read: The full article at WISE Employment
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