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After staying home to raise young children, it can be daunting to think about getting a job. But tens of thousands of parents will have help to make that transition, with the national expansion of an innovative government program.
ParentsNext helps parents become ‘work ready’ by the time their youngest child goes to school.
The program supports parents to identify their education and work goals and plan the steps to reach these goals. This may include help to access services like further education, training, volunteering and child care. It could also include support to gain a driver’s license or attend personal or family counselling to help make the change from being home full time to participating in the workforce.
Amy Doupovec from Adelaide, South Australia, said ParentsNext helped open up opportunities for her and her three children.
Amy had felt a bit lost but said, ‘ParentsNext helped me with organising my thoughts, trying to find a plan, and setting my goals for the future.’
‘Sitting down with Ben [ParentsNext provider]… I discovered that I did want to study,’ Amy said.
‘I was interested in going back to school to do a Women’s Studies course.
‘Ben immediately pointed me in the direction of Pooraka Community Centre, where a free introductory TAFE course in Women’s Studies was being run.’
The introductory course boosted Amy’s confidence to continue.
‘I also gained the knowledge of how to study and what was required to complete the course,’ she said.
Importantly, ParentsNext providers understand parents’ caring responsibilities. Amy was unsure about finding child care, but the provider helped with that, too.
‘It’s such a fantastic experience. The ParentsNext providers are really lovely, and they understand that being a parent is unpredictable and busy,’ Amy said.
‘They’re always happy to accommodate us and they respect that your children are your first priority.’
ParentsNext has already helped more than 23,000 parents take their next step towards a job. The expansion from 10 initial locations to a national program means ParentsNext can now support around 68,000 parents each year to find their pathway to employment.
Watch some ParentsNext real-life stories on the resource page, or on YouTube:
Find out more about ParentsNext.