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Employability for inclusion: the urgent need for a biopsychosocial model perspective

Definitions of disability are changing, shifting from a narrow medical diagnosis to a biopsychosocial model of disability, where disability is conceptualised as a series of relational conditions that can potentially disadvantage individuals within environments. Implications of this new understanding of disability will have significant effects in the higher education sector, where there is increasing participation of disabled students. This paper discusses one aspect of these implications through the topic of graduate employability. In doing so, we generate a new concept ‘Employability for Inclusion’ that can be utilised as an equity-focused lens for universities to consider how employability initiatives are inclusive to disabled and/or diverse students. To unpack this concept, we further illustrate how a biopsychosocial model of disability would impact key employability activities (e.g., work-integrated learning) and provide valuable insights into how the higher education sector can adopt emerging conceptualisations of disability and inclusion. (September 2023. Mollie Dollinger, Tim Corcoran, Denise Jackson and Sarah O’Shea)