News & Events

April Bulletin: National Career Development Learning Hub for Students with Disability

The National Career Development Learning Hub for Students with Disability project is funded by the National Careers Institute (NCI) and led by the NCSEHE. The purpose of the project is to establish the first dedicated national Career Development Learning (CDL) Hub for students with disability which will showcase best practices in the field. The CDL Hub will assist others in developing bespoke and contextualised approaches to support the CDL of students with disability.

In this latest bulletin, the team offer an overview of the project and a summary of progress and outputs to date.

Project Overview

The project involves four phases:

  • Phase 1: a review of the key literature, audit of current provision, and analysis of existing data sets.
  • Phase 2: qualitative interviews and surveys with parents/carers, stakeholders and students.
  • Phase 3: design, implementation and evaluation of pilot programs informed by the work in phases 1 and 2.
  • Phase 4: development of a national CDL Hub for students with disability.


Come and interact with the team at the upcoming Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA) National conference!

  • Workshop — Thursday 12 May: Best practice career education for students from low SES backgrounds including implementing a whole-school approach
  • Presentation — Friday 13 May: Best practice career development learning for students with disability

Current Project Activity

Phase 3 of the project is underway, with four pilot programs currently being prepared and implemented across Australia. Each one is led by a member of the research team, supported by research staff and an expert working party at a partner university.

The four exciting pilot projects are:

— Redesigning work integrated learning (WIL) to support students with disability
This Deakin University project will explore students with disabilities’ experience of WIL. Through co-design workshops with students, teachers and other stakeholders, potential solutions will be generated and resources developed.

— VET career pathways for school students living with disability: working with employers
The University of Tasmania project will increase employer and industry understanding of what is involved in engaging in the work component of school-based VET for students with disability. It will identify barriers and enhancers to both employer and student participation in workplaces in a regional city (Launceston) and strategies to address them.

— Building the capacity of career practitioners to provide tailored career advice to students with disability
The University of Wollongong pilot project will aim to explore the existing capabilities of career and accessibility practitioners in providing effective Career Development Learning to SwD and how this might be enhanced through professional development and engagement with targeted resources.

— Supporting the CDL of neurodivergent university students
Curtin University has an existing strength in supporting the educational success of neurodivergent students and this pilot will build on that by running a workshop on career development specifically tailored to the needs of neurodivergent students e.g. autism, ADHD and learning disorders.

Each of these pilot programs will apply best practices for CDL for students with disability and will evaluate the success of the program, writing up the results as case studies which might be contextualised and applied Australia-wide.

Completed activity

Phases 1 and 2 are complete!

We have completed our review of the literature, audit of current provision and the main body of data collection. Phase 2 involved qualitative interviews with current students (n=13), their parents/carers (n=5) and stakeholders (n=34) about the provisions of career education to students with disability. We also collected survey responses from students (n=60), parents (n=20) and stakeholders (n=25). Firsthand data collection involved 157 participants.

We also analysed extant data sets. Student with disability data from previous research with students with disability (surveys n=623 and interviews n=6) were incorporated into the data set. Overall, the project includes data from 785 participants so far!

A set of Best Practice Principles for career development learning for students with disability have been drafted. The principles were drawn from the literature and empirical research and have so far undergone review by the full research team (n=12), members of the Expert Working Party (n=12) and experts from Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET) (n=3). These principles are being used as the basis for the planning and implementation of pilot programs in phase 3 described below. The principles will be presented for review at the upcoming Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA) conference before being finalised later in 2022.


Read more from the team about career development learning and equity:

Groves, O., Austin, K., O’Shea, S., & Lamanna, J. (2021). ‘One student might get one opportunity and then the next student won’t get anything like that’: Inequities in Australian career education and recommendations for a fairer future. The Australian Educational Researcher.

Groves, O., & O’Shea, S. (2022, February 8). How can Career Development Learning help to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals? National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education.


What would you like to hear about through the newsletter? Email Project Manager, Olivia Groves (NCSEHE) with your suggestions: If you’d like to receive all project updates directly, subscribe to the CDL Hub project mailing list.

Posted 20 April 2022 Posted in Disability, General