Equity and employability: A study into the challenges faced by healthcare learners with a disability and/or learners pursuing part-time work





An increasing amount of evidence suggests that learners within Higher Education (HE), and graduates, are struggling with their transition into the workplace. With the increased prominence of workplace learning requirements, these challenges are becoming more evident for learners during HE studies. This study aimed to identify the challenges faced by learners and graduates transitioning into the healthcare workforce, and the challenges experienced by key groups such as healthcare employers and other influencers within HE. The key focus was on disability, part-time work and transitions into the workplace. Thirty-two individuals participated in an online survey focused on equity and employability. Questions were both quantitative and qualitative in nature. Participants were learners, graduates, academics, career advisory staff, and employers. Thematic analysis of the qualitative data identified eight themes. Challenges identified by participants included work-life balance, stigma and stereotypes, organisational and individual empowerment, navigating additional administrations tasks, information and signposting, consistency in language and messaging, advocacy, and exemplars for guidance. The study highlights the responsibilities of all involved with HE provision, and the importance of collaboration with employers to inform, educate and advocate for all learners to maximize employability opportunities and enhance transitions into employment. Policy and practice in this area should quality assure the robustness of the support, aiming to meet individual needs, including education to empower and facilitate individual agency, as well as reviewing the visibility and accessibility of resources.


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Author Biographies

  • Professor Lisa Taylor, University of East Anglia

    Lisa Taylor is Professor of Employability and Learning Innovation. Lisa leads employability for the faculty in her role as Associate Dean for Employability. Lisa is passionate about employability and learning innovation, has written two books, and publishes and presents widely. Lisa has been awarded an Advance HE National Teaching Fellowship for her sustained and impactful work within employability. ORCID:  https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0989-8975

  • Charmaine Chandler, University of East Anglia

    Charmaine Chandler is a Lecturer in Occupational Therapy and the Senior Adviser for pre-registration learners within the School of Health Sciences at the University of East Anglia, Norwich.  Charmaine’s central role is to support learners during critical junctures and transitions within their course and evaluating the role alongside learner success.  

  • Associate Professor Stephanie Jong, University of East Anglia

    Stephanie Jong is an Associate Professor in the School of Health Sciences at the University of East Anglia, and the Widening Participation Academic Officer for the School. This role includes supporting learners with access, success, and progression through their courses and into positive graduate employment. Stephanie’s research adopts a socio-cultural perspective, using qualitative, and mixed methods approaches. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5012-7187.  


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How to Cite

Equity and employability: A study into the challenges faced by healthcare learners with a disability and/or learners pursuing part-time work. (2023). Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 14(2), 54-69. https://doi.org/10.21153/jtlge2023vol14no2art1791