Flint

Your future: support for job hunting with a disability or long-term condition

Students sitting on comfortable chairs in the common room, seen from above

Being open about your disability or long-term health condition to an employer can be a tricky decision. Thinking about the best way to do it, when to tell the employer, what to say and deciding what you need often requires careful thought. However, doing so may help you get reasonable adjustments and help you fulfil your potential in the workplace.

One student we spoke to about their experiences told us: “Working in an environment where I can be open about my mental health and I am understood and supported by my colleagues has been incredibly valuable. It has created a positive environment for me which has allowed me to progress further and be more consistent in my work.

“I would now seek to work with a disability-positive company, and one that has a positive culture around mental health, with experience of working with employees with mental health issues. This would give me the confidence to be open about my mental health and would allow me to work in an environment where I would feel supported and understood.”

The Careers and Employability Centre can help you with how to discuss the subject with your employer. We have a Careers Consultant who works specifically with students with disabilities and long-term health conditions.

Some of the things we can help with are:

  • How to present your disability on applications, CVs and in interviews, and when to share with an employer
  • Discussions about the support you receive at Sussex and what this might mean at work
  • Referrals to specialist organisations
  • Information about internships and graduate schemes for students, such as Change 100
  • Gaining experience – learning about how your disability might affect you in work can help you ask for what you need in the future
  • A wide-ranging events programme – hear from employers and ask them about what it’s like to work for them and what they look for in candidates
  • Recruitment events – the annual Careers Fair takes place in November and we run other events throughout the year

We initially suggest a 20-minute appointment to find out more about your needs and to identify if you would benefit from a longer appointment. If more time is required, we can offer 40-minute appointments. We also have specialist resources on our web pages such as supporting organisations, resources on disclosure and equality in employment.

The Careers and Employability Centre is based in the Library and there is wheelchair access to the ground floor of the building via the entrance by IDS Bar. We can also talk to students on the phone, via email or meet elsewhere on campus. We offer our materials in different accessible formats by request.

See more from 2 December 2019