A new scholarship at Melbourne Business School is set to help empower people with a disability.
The WISE Employment Diversity Scholarship will allow more people with a disability to become business and community leaders.
“Australia’s top business school is taking a lead role in collaborating with us to fund masters-level study in business for people with a disability,” said WISE Employment CEO Matthew Lambelle, who championed the initiative.
“I’m not aware of any other business school in the country having such a dedicated scholarship. It’s inspiring to be challenging whatever ceilings people might think exist to becoming a senior leader in Australia.”
Melbourne Business School Dean, Internal, Caron Beaton-Wells said the School was proud to be partnering with WISE Employment on the new scholarship, which will provide full tuition to a student with a disability to undertake a Full-time MBA, Part-time MBA or Online MBA.
“The scholarship is an important step in opening up opportunities for people with a disability to fulfil their potential and shine as leaders in our community,” Professor Beaton-Wells said.
WISE Employment is an Australian not-for-profit that has found jobs for more than 180,000 people with a disability or experiencing disadvantage since 1992.
“A lot of what we do is to advocate, educate, promote and help people build their capacity to gain good jobs and live their best life, independent of us,” Mr Lambelle said.
“There’s a direct link with further study and better earning potential and career opportunities, but it’s all about pushing boundaries. If I can get to Year 12 with a disability, is that enough? How far can I go?
“Challenging expectations is important for people with a disability, and this scholarship is about that.”
Mr Lambelle said he hoped that eligible people had the confidence to back themselves and take full advantage of the opportunity to become pioneering leaders in business and the community.
“The main thing is to have a go. If you see the scholarship as an opportunity, then seize it and submit an application. If you’re unsuccessful, there will always be another opportunity, but you shouldn’t let this one pass because you don’t think you can do it.”
‘Not just about the individual’
Mr Lambelle said the launch of the new scholarship was a great opportunity for individuals with a disability but would have a broader impact on the community as well.
“There’s still a stigma around leaders disclosing that they have a disability, and we’re certainly not fully there at the top leadership level – but the next generation will change that. For more people to act as role models in business and inspire others to walk the same path is invaluable,” he said.
“The example of a person successfully advancing their career is a really good news story, but it’s not just about the individual, it’s about their loved ones too. Families with children who have a disability worry about their child’s future, so to see new pathways and more people succeed at higher levels has a massive ripple effect.”
Mr Lambelle said seeing more people with a disability succeed in the workplace normalises disability for everyone.
“It builds confidence on a systemic scale – from the individual, to the family, to the community. The more positive role models that we see, the more integration we see, the less we notice or think of someone as having a disability.
“This scholarship is an opportunity for people with a disability to be ambitious. It gives them the scaffolding of support they need to succeed through quality education, personal growth and the powerful WISE and Melbourne Business School networks.
“Its impact is potentially huge.”
You can learn more about the scholarship, including details of how to apply, on the WISE Employment Diversity Scholarship page.