Disability Works Australia


Westpac Bank and DWA leading the way in recruiting graduates with disabilities

In 2007 Westpac Bank one of Australia 's leading financial institutions approached DWA to review its graduate recruitment processes in relation to its impact on graduates with a disability.

Offering approximately 180 graduate positions as part of its annual recruitment intake. Westpac bank is one of the largest recruiters of tertiary graduates in the banking sector and one of Australia 's ‘Big Four' banks.

According to Sarah Armstrong, Westpac's Graduate Recruitment Manager, “In order to maximize the potential of Australia 's talent pool Westpac identified the need to remove any barriers to its current recruitment methods that may prevent it from attracting and securing graduates with disabilities.”

In consultation with DWA, Westpac implemented a graduate recruitment model that provided reasonable adjustments, supports or modifications as part of its recruitment and interview process for applicants with disabilities.

Current recruitment processes are generally electronically based via a web site and in many instances, this method is not suitable for candidates with vision impairment, learning disability, dyslexia and some medical conditions. Westpac wanted DWA to provide a service model that involved providing direct access to a person who understood the needs of various students with disabilities and was familiar with modifications and reasonable adjustments that could be made to online and group assessment/recruitment processes.

Westpac also appreciated the extensive resources and knowledge of DWA to access:

  • Disability services staff at universities;
  • Other degree providing institutions across Australia ; and
  • In organizations and areas who are associated students with disabilities.

DWA are pleased to be working with a large national employer who was keen to employ a diverse range of staff and considered any accommodations as a normal part of a recruitment process. This enabled DWA to provide a secure and supportive environment for applicants with a disability knowing that the employer was interested in securing the best talent available and understood this meant accommodating a diverse workforce.

DWA staff played a vital role in supporting and encouraging applicants by providing an easily accessible and confidential support service for applicants. This service assisted applicants to identify any impact their disability may have on their ability to participate equitably in the recruitment process and enabled DWA to liaise on their behalf with Westpac to organize any individual modifications or supports.

Westpac run a robust recruitment programme with fierce competition across the country for positions. The modifications support and reasonable adjustment provided by Westpac to their recruitment service did not reduce the rigor and standards of the recruitment process undertaken by Westpac, these included:

  • Desk top scanners, large font paper work, altered contrast on screen and hard copies of on line testing for people with visual impairment.
  • Hands free units and note takers for people with physical disabilities.
  • Auslan interpreters and face to face interview were conducted of phone interviews for people with hearing impairment.
  • Extra time was provided for people with a disability depending on their needs.
  • Assessment centre tests were provided in alternative formats.
  • Assisted with transport to assessment centre.

As a result of this partnership, DWA pre-screened many candidates with 65 applications from across Australia being forwarded to Westpac. DWA applicants were successfully able to demonstrate their academic and personal skills through a range of alternate mechanisms that required minimal modifications to the existing Westpac recruitment structure. Over half of these applicants progressed to the final stages of the recruitment process.

DWA is pleased to advise that Westpac is currently negotiating contracts of employment with a number of DWA candidates who have a range of disabilities and looks forward to continuing the partnership in the future.

Majella Knobel has accepted a graduate position with Westpac in Sydney , to commence in February 2009. Majella is a recent Honours graduate of the University of Melbourne . Majella has only been without sight for the past 11 years and during that time has adapted to using a range of assistive technology to facilitate her study and work.



Matching Motivated People to Employers


About DWA
What does
DWA do?
made easy
Why recruit?
What is a
works with
Government Employment Agencies