Resources and Tools- A Guide to NEADS.ca
By Maryam S.
Are you a Canadian post-secondary student or graduate with a disability?
NEADS.ca might be the website for you. NEADS, the National Educational Association of Disabled Students is a consumer-controlled, cross-disability charitable organization. It aims to provide full access to education and employment for post-secondary students and graduates.
Once on the website, users have the option of accessing the site in either English or French. There are multiple tabs to browse under, including the About Us page, the Education section, the Employment area, Resources, and Events. There is relevant information on each tab for users to explore.
Some key tools that are available to use on NEADS.ca are their job search videos. They cover topics such as finding work in tough economic times, becoming a self-advocate, transitioning from school to work, preparing for interviews, and effective job searching. Videos are made by representatives from different professionals from BMO, RBC, and UNB, among others.
Additionally, the site has search engines to find campus career centres and locate campus disability services.
NEADS also has a bimonthly e-newsletter which highlights new information, upcoming events, and interesting stories.
The organization has also established a NEADS-L Network; an email based, discussion forum for comments, questions, and contributions. It is a beneficial way to interact with others and share experiences.
Furthermore, NEADS runs a website that helps match students with scholarships and bursaries they may be eligible for. Students can go to disabilityawards.ca and sort through available scholarships and bursaries by searching according to disability, province, or deadline.
The site includes access to a duty to accommodate file. This document is a resource for individuals who work and provides information about the difference between federally and provincially regulated employees, the human rights legislation, the rights to equal employment, and employers’ duty to accommodate employees with various needs.
One of NEADS past initiatives was their Job Search Strategies Forums Project. They hosted interactive forums with guest speakers that assist attendees in preparing to enter the job market. With interactive sessions and guest speakers, topics focused on career transition, concerns about disclosure, resume development, conducting job searches, asking for accommodations, promoting skill sets, and finding mentorship opportunities.
The forums hosted around 70 attendees with 5-6 guest speakers. They have previously been held in Toronto and Vancouver and have been fully accessible events (ASL interpretation has been available in the past). After the forums, reports were produced which included participant suggestions and presentation transcripts.
Current projects run by NEADS are their Career Centre Outreach Project and the second phase of their Equity Through Education Project.
There are a variety of personal experiences and inspirational stories to read about on the employment articles section. For example, people write about their lessons being their own boss, their interview tips, and their educational journeys.
One of these articles is about Jennifer Dillon, a York University graduate who is an information management advisor. As a woman with a vision impairment, Jennifer uses screen reading software and refreshable screen displays in her work. Having participated in the two-year paid Ontario Internship Program, she gained many skills that have helped her in the workforce. She completed a Bachelor of Environmental Sciences, and, realizing the need for project management in the environmental field, completed a certificate in project management at Ryerson University. She is very successful and happy despite her disability, and her educational journey is an inspirational read.
Overall, NEADS.ca is a great resource to find tools, use resources, and search for helpful tips pertaining to the workforce and education. It strives to make information accessible and provides relevant and important information. Don’t hesitate to check it out!