Internships are one of the best ways to explore different career options. Medibank has been working with the Australian Network on Disability, which connects people with disabilities to businesses through its ‘Stepping Into Internships’ program. Jessica Schauer took on her first internship with Medibank’s Talent Acquisition team last July. She is back for the second time with the team, focussing on how to remove barriers for people with a disability during the recruitment process.
Jessica’s passion to create a more inclusive recruitment process for people with a disability is something that is driven by her own personal situation.
“I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which means I either don’t have the collagen or whatever is left surrounding my joints is really weak. This also means that all my joints dislocate. I can do most things others can but at times have to have adjustments,” she says.
“When I’m at university, I use a dictation software so it types for me. At work, I make sure to take rest breaks and I also ensure that I stretch and do my exercises. Across my life, it will get a little bit worse but that depends on how I manage it and what I do day to day.”
Asked what made her decide that Medibank was the place to intern, Jessica says it was strongly due to what she could see the business was trying to achieve.
“Medibank was one of the organisations that I could see was wanting to create change and improve. I could see that there was a foundation and if they had initiatives already in place then it was going to be a workplace that I would want to be a part of,” she explains.
“The business was so welcoming and I could see on the website that they were committed to making a difference in this field. It really won me over.”
Jessica (sitting) with colleagues Hiruni and Mia during a team day at Cork and Canvas.
As part of the Talent Acquisition team, Jessica is currently supporting Talent Acquisition Strategy where she is working on finding ways to make the recruitment process for people with a disability easier.
“My current role involves me looking at how we advertise jobs and how we can make them more accessible. For example, adding Alt-Text on images on the website would have a huge impact. Currently, we don’t have this so a screen reading software is unable to pick up what the description of the images are,” says Jessica.
“People who have a visual impairment have no way of understanding what’s going on with the pictures on the website.”
At work with colleague Dani.
During her second round of internship, Jessica’s goal is to implement changes and improvements to the recruitment process so it’s accessible to people who have a disability. Having done the prep work during her first time with Medibank, she says this is something she’s truly excited to work on.
“I can see that once we start really pushing to apply these changes, there will be such great impact. It would be so amazing to see the direct relationship between putting ideas into action and seeing more people with disabilities in the workplace.”
For Jessica, Medibank is truly a great place to intern at because she can see that the business does talk the talk and walks the walk.
“We are an organisation with an ongoing commitment to change lives for the better. Medibank hasn’t stopped or reached the point of ‘we’ve done as much as we can’. We are constantly looking at other avenues to widen up the funnel to allow accessibility and inclusion for all.”