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New service for women looking to return to the workforce – guest blog by Women2Work

Today, women make up just over half of Australia’s total population. More women than men are now educated at secondary schools and universities, and more women than men graduate from university with bachelor degrees. Women have made significant contributions to every aspect of Australia’s development including its society, culture and economy. However, women in Australia still have to battle institutional and social barriers as they struggle for equality of opportunity especially in the workplace.pect of Australia’s development, including its society, culture and economy. However, women in Australia still have to battle institutional and social barriers as they struggle for equality of opportunity Many women take a career break to look after their children or other dependents and the more time they take out of the workplace the more daunting it can seem to get back to work.  Most women may feel they do not have the relevant skills for the ever changing job market, or can’t identify what type of organisation might employ them. They may be unsure about how to update their resume or how to prepare for an interview. Concerns about finding adequate childcare or flexible working hours can sometimes prevent them from taking up employment once again even if they have previously had very successful careers.

A new initiative called Women2Work has been started initially in the Northern Beaches and North Shore areas of Sydney to help women who want to get back to work. The first step to kick-starting their career is to fill in the online personality profiler Finding Potential which enables users to identify their strong points and can recommend types of jobs/careers most suited to their personality.  We then offer consultancy to any women who need help and guidance in compiling a resume, preparing for a job interview or just identifying what role they might want to pursue in the job market. Often women do not want to go back into the same field as they were in before having children and we help them identify the skills they have that are transferrable to many roles.  Most importantly we give our women returners a placement with a local organisation for one week (more if wanted) to gain valuable experience in a relevant job role. The role is unpaid but the benefits include a written assessment at the end, a reference for future job applications and the possibility of future employment with that organisation should a vacancy arises. All candidates on the Women2Work program are also sent regular newsletters which inform them of any positions that are looking specifically for women in the local area.

Women2Work has also just begun to provide a service to organisations that wish to recruit more skilled women after they have had a career break . Similarly we help organisations retain women that have gone on maternity leave by ensuring that they are still informed of company issues and changes and organise workshops so that women on maternity leave do not feel isolated. Like the placement program run for individuals a similar program can be put in place in organisations where previous employees can try out different roles that may better suit them on their return to the workforce. 


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