Willing and Able Mentoring program
What is WAM?
The Willing and Able Mentoring (WAM) Program matches job seekers or tertiary students who have a disability with mentors in leading organisations in the job seekers or students’ field of interest for a series of approximately eight one- to two-hour meetings. During these meetings, the following strategies are developed:
- gathering information about the career environment they are heading towards
- refining interview skills
- experiencing the workplace culture (e.g. staff meetings)
- developing better skills in presenting a professional profile
- disclosure and demystifying disability and related workplace issues (e.g. workplace modifications).
The WAM Program was established in 2000 through a collaboration between Deakin University and the University of Melbourne . WAM is now available across Australia for any job seeker or tertiary student who has a disability on a fee-for-service basis. Please contact your careers service, disability support service, or employment consultant for possible financial support to participate in WAM Program.
Why have it?
The premise underlying the WAM Program is that people who have a disability, despite being as talented as their peers, are often overlooked in the fierce competition for career opportunities due to negative self-concepts, community stereotypes and general negative beliefs or assumptions about their ability.
[To read more or download WAM application forms, click the 'plus' button below]
WAM has the potential to reduce those negative beliefs and enhance personal and professional strategies (e.g. networking skills) to assist people with disability to become more competitive in that challenging transition from study to career.
Other benefits, which may flow from the WAM concept, include more general positive cultural compliance and development in the workplace and clarification of essential requirements of job roles in the workplace.
How to apply
Simply download the WAM application form, fill it out and return to: email@example.com.
Download the WAM application form here:
In short, applicants must be available for a training workshop, the six to eight mentor sessions at the mentor’s workplace and a debriefing and certificate presentation event at the end of the program.
The WAM Program has now been documented and analysed as the focus of PhD research by the WAM Program Coordinator, Kevin Murfitt. The PhD research supported evaluations from hundreds of WAM participants and found that mentees gain significantly in their confidence, clarity of career direction and professional profile; and mentors gained further insight into the talents of people with disability, and strategies to make their workplaces more inclusive.
Many organisations are giving their support to WAM, in addition to the generous mentor organisations including:
- Australian Network on Disability (AND)
- Graduate Careers Australia
- National Disability Coordination Officer group in Australia
- University and TAFE Disability Liaison Officers and Careers Professionals
Mentor organisations who have participated include:
- AusAID, Canberra
- Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC)
- Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)
- Baker and McKenzie Solicitors, Sparke Helmore Lawyers and many other law firms
- Business Enterprise Centres SA Inc
- Royal Children’s Hospitals in Melbourne and Sydney
- Deakin University Equal Opportunity Unit
- Disability Discrimination Legal Service
- Environment Protection Authority, Rockhampton
- Geelong Broadcasters
- Glenelg-HopkinsRiver Catchment Authority
- Hewlett-Packard Corporation
- GM Holden
- McArthur Management Consultants, Adelaide
- National Australia Bank
- National Gallery of Victoria
- Peach Marketing Consultants, Sydney
- Queensland Police
- Royal Australian Institute of Architects
- Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens
- Senator Lyn Allison
- Sheraton Towers Hotel
- Sustainable Energy Authority Victoria
- TAFE Tasmania
- The Alfred Hospital
- Various state and federal government departments
- Victoria Police
- Western Australia Institute of Sport
- Westpac, Sydney.
Feedback and evaluations
The feedback and evaluations from Mntors and Mentees has been overwhelmingly positive. The following examples of responses from the students typify the feedback.
“This program was a great help to me, not only to give me a better understanding [of my field] but as my mentor had a similar physical disability to me, she made me realise that my own experience will be the way to gauge whether I can do everything required [in my chosen field]. I definitely feel more focused and have clear ideas about my goals now.”
“Based on my experience with the program I would like to see everything done to continue the funding. Finding a job these days is difficult enough without having a disability; this type of program therefore is extremely useful.”
The Mentors’ evaluations have been similarly positive, with most agreeing that they had benefitted from the program as well, and all saying they would be involved in future programs.
“I found this program beneficial to my understanding of the barriers that confront disabled persons. [The student] was great to work with and I’m sure his positive outlook will enable him to succeed in his chosen career.”
“I would like to congratulate you and your team for putting together a most worthwhile program and I look forward to being involved in future programs that may be suitable for our organisation.”
For further information about WAM, please contact:
Telephone: 03 9251 7190
Mobile: 0458 339 432
School of Health and Social Development
221 Burwood Hwy
Burwood VIC 3125
|Disclosure: It’s a Personal Decision
Choosing Your Path. Disclosure: It’s a Personal Decision is a free online resource which has been developed for students and employees with disabilities and also for employers, educators and support services.
This resource is an initiative of the Australian federal government, which designed it to help not only Job Network staff, but also employers of job-seekers with a disability negotiate the unique circumstances surrounding their job-seeking activities.