The ACT Women’s Return to Work Grants Program provides grants of $1,000 to support Canberra women who want to return to the workforce following time off for caring responsibilities. This grants program has been around for a few years now and really provides for some great outcomes. The money can be used to attend training courses, pay for childcare, purchase clothing to attend interviews, undertake education and training and pay for transport, equipment, computers and text books or other expenses directly related to returning to work.
In the 2018-19 first quarter there were 65 applications received and 50 grants approved. This equates to fifty individual stories, some of them life changing.
Sally*, a 54 year old Canberra woman was provided with help to complete the application to get some financial assistance for a new private venture that she had designed. Sally sold her CRV and purchased a one-ton utility, and with the money she received from the grant, she purchased a number of items, such as some work shirts with her new business name and logo embroidered upon, a toolbox, business cards, flyers, advertising on the rear of the utility tray, and she registered the business with ASIC.
Sally has been earning money and investing in her business and has recently had additional advertising mounted on the remaining two panels of the utility tray top and paid for public liability. Sally also has a goal to purchase more machinery and equipment to run the business more efficiently.
Sally’s two major long-term goals are to contribute enough money into superannuation so that she will never have to be dependent upon social security as she ages; and as the business grows Sally plans to employ women her age who also find it difficult to secure work due to their perceived ‘too old to be employed’ by others.
There are so many positive stories out there to be told.
Recently a new program was delivered for women entering or returning to work – the SPARK Return to Work program – which allowed for 26 Women to participate and graduate in September this year.
The Program offered a series of three workshops covering essential topics for women wanting to return to work:
• Creating professional resumes and cover letters
• Applying for jobs
• Online and government job applications
• Job interview preparation
• Exploring your career options
• Personal presentation and dressing for the workplace
Career Shop advised that one client was offered six interviews in ten days. All the positions were in ACT and NSW Government offices. Two of the women from the program have secured part time positions, one as a swimming instructor and another as a medical receptionist.
The Return to Work Program is a great program and I would encourage you – if you’re looking to get a job, or return to the workforce –go and have a look to see if you’re eligible to apply. You can find out out more by visiting https://www.communityservices.act.gov.au/women/grants_and_awards/return-to-work