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(L—R) Geoff Batkin, Anne Cross, Judy Wollin, Senator Michaelia Cash and Trevor Evans. Photo was supplied.
(L—R) Geoff Batkin, Anne Cross, Judy Wollin, Senator Michaelia Cash and Trevor Evans. Photo: Supplied

Women given a springboard for employment

A new employment project developed by UnitingCare Australia in partnership with the Australian government is helping women enter the job market and early trials by UnitingCare look promising. Amy Cobb reports.

Wesley Mission Queensland, UnitingCare Queensland and UnitingCare Australia welcomed the recent announcement by Federal Minister for Women and Employment, Senator Michaelia Cash of $10 million for a national rollout of the Springboard employment project.

The Springboard project, developed by UnitingCare Australia in partnership with the federal government, aims to provide women, who might otherwise struggle to get a foothold in the job market, with a career pathway.

There have been two trials undertaken by UnitingCare so far in Western Australia and South Australia. Due to the success of these trials, funding has now been allocated for the national rollout.

Springboard will be implemented by Wesley Mission Queensland as they prepare for the opening of a new aged care home at Geebung in October where more than 100 new staff will be required.

Geoff Batkin, Wesley Mission Queensland CEO says, “Through the Springboard employment project we will provide formal and on-the-job training, mentoring and a career pathway within our aged care and community services.”

“Last year we commissioned a report to understand Queensland women’s experience of poverty, which revealed that approximately 46 982 women over the age of 65 will be ‘doing it tough’ in 2016.

“We know that women in poverty is a serious issue and the Springboard employment project will allow us to provide opportunity to women facing disadvantage to pursue a rewarding career in aged care and community services.”

Acting National Director Martin J Cowling noted Springboard is an innovative model that both addresses employment issues for individuals and helps meet the workforce needs of the growing community services sector.

“Participants in the pilot tranches of Springboard that have been rolled out so far have completed both pre-employment and on the job training, as well as receiving mentoring,” says Martin.

“Those who have successfully completed all the requirements of the project have been offered roles within the community services agencies of the pilot organisations.

“I congratulate our staff at UnitingCare Australia, along with the three pilot sites, UnitingCare West (Perth), UnitingCare Wesley Bowden (Adelaide), and Wesley Mission Queensland, for their initiative and commitment to successfully developing this project. We are pleased that this funding will now allow other agencies to deliver the program and benefit more people around the country.”

Wesley Mission Queensland is part of the UnitingCare network, one of Australia’s largest providers of social services.

For information about Springboard visit unitingcare.org.au/springboard

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