Prize for study career programme for students with disabilities

We want to provide students with disabilities with personalised guidance in their transition from their studies to the labour market. That is why Werklab was established three years ago: a collaboration between the study career team from Radboud University, HAN, ROC, Werkbedrijf Rijk van Nijmegen/Municipality of Nijmegen, and UWV. And now Werklab has been awarded the Bridge of Fame Award: “I hope that this prize will be an example to other educational institutions to also dedicate themselves to this group of students. Because everybody deserves a place in the labour market, regardless of who they are, how they are, what they are, or what they have.”

The Werklab study career programme was set up to help students with disabilities find a sustainable and suitable place in the labour market. Student Career Advisor Jeroen van den Hoven explains: “A disability can be defined as a psychological or physical condition that can interfere with a student's studies. For example, autism, ADD, or physical disabilities. Until a few years ago, the university mainly offered support and guidance while these students were studying, but this often ended suddenly after graduation. Now the study career team and the Werklab are trying to narrow this gap towards the labour market.” Jeroen himself is mainly concerned with students who need additional support in that last step towards the labour market. 

Portretfoto Jeroen van den Hoven

How does this work? Jeroen: “In the programme, a student is no longer part of a study programme and we look at the inner, personal talents that they might have. What are someone's talents, drives, support needs? During the programme, we compile a personal profile to identify the labour market opportunities for the student. The specific guidance provided during the programme differs from student to student. As such, it is a personalised programme: some only need additional clarification on how applying for a job works; others only need us to help them practise it. We also look at the legal options: what help can these students expect from the government, in this case Werkbedrijf Rijk van Nijmegen/Municipality of Nijmegen, and the UWV?”

Six years ago, Radboud University was the first higher education institution to offer this kind of programme. A few years ago, Werklab was set up to look at a regional level at how a student can be supported outside the legal framework. “The unique feature of Werklab is that we are really collaborating with the other two educational institutions in Nijmegen, Werkbedrijf Rijk van Nijmegen/Gemeente Nijmegen, and UWV to create a regional approach. The biggest advantage is that it creates more seamless movement between the end of education and the next step: whether that is entering the labour market, applying for benefits, or finding the right assistance agencies. All potentially relevant parties have been included in the process from the start.”

And now we have been awarded the Bridge of Fame Award, which honours higher education institutions that are committed to providing inclusive labour market access for their students. "I hope that this nomination will be an example to other educational institutions to also dedicate themselves to this group of students. We are not doing enough in the Netherlands when it comes to the issues that people with disabilities have with the labour market and this really needs to be improved. Because everybody deserves a place in the labour market, regardless of who they are, how they are, what they are, or what they have.” Students with disabilities who are interested in the study career programme can still register up to six months after graduation: “Registering is very easy. Click this link and schedule an appointment with us.”

Read the press release (in Dutch) about the Bridge of Fame Award.