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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 24 September 2019) . . Page.. 3777 ..


Government—women’s return to work program

MS CHEYNE: My question is to the Minister for Women. Minister, how is the ACT government helping women return to the workforce?

MS BERRY: I thank Ms Cheyne for the question. Each year the Community Services Directorate provides up to 160 women with $1,000 dollar grants to support them to re-enter the workforce. The program is targeted towards women who have been away from paid work for an extended time due to caring responsibilities and who may experience significant barriers when they try to re-enter the workforce. This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, women with disabilities, young women and older women requiring assistance in returning to paid work.

Grants are available year round and can be put towards anything that will help women returning to work, which includes child care, clothing, laptops and training courses. Women who receive return to work grants can also access one-on-one mentorship through a relationship manager at UnitingCare, Kippax, to better link them to vocational education and training opportunities as well as employment pathways.

MS CHEYNE: Minister, how has the government expanded the program?

MS BERRY: This year the Community Services Directorate has secured a future skills for future work grant from Skills Canberra for over $175,000 which will enable the continued investment in initiatives that support women returning to work. Through this grant CSD has partnered with UnitingCare Kippax to provide return to work grant recipients with additional one-on-one mentoring and wraparound support with a relationship manager to better link them into employment pathways.

CSD has also funded Ginninderry’s training and employment initiative, SPARK, to run a series of workshops with the Career Shop across the ACT to prepare local women to return to the paid workforce. A series of workshops is being developed in both north and south Canberra for up to 80 women.

These free workshops and individualised sessions support women to gain the skills and confidence they need to get back to work, including advice on employment options, resume writing classes, how to apply for jobs, job interview techniques, and personal presentation. Child care and transport are offered so that women have every opportunity to attend. On completion, all participants will have access to one-on-one career development support from the Career Shop.

MR PETTERSSON: Minister, how do these programs offer opportunities for vulnerable women to be linked with their communities?

MS BERRY: The expanded return to work program provides opportunities for women to be linked with their communities. The mentoring aspect of the program is run out of UnitingCare Kippax, a local not-for-profit organisation located in West Belconnen that provides multitudes of programs as well as support for vulnerable people.


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