Eighteen per cent of participants referred to ParentsNext are Indigenous, and the ParentsNext Intensive Stream provides additional investment, including a participation fund and wage subsidies, in areas with larger numbers of Indigenous parents.
Mihi said that she wished there had been a ParentsNext program available to her when she was raising her children.
“[It’s] a program that really connects with the community and provides linkages to further services to assist our parents with the right support they need, to address their challenges and barriers, as well as to achieve their education and employment goals,” Mihi said.
ParentsNext provides parents of young children with valuable pre-employment support to help them proactively plan and prepare for their future employment. It is flexible, recognises parents’ caring responsibilities, does not require them to look for work, and incorporates family friendly sites and activities.
Participants get assistance to identify their education and employment goals, develop a pathway to achieve these goals and connect with appropriate activities and services in their local community.
Mihi explained how important it was for her to build a rapport with parents referred to the program and was assisted in this by Indigenous Community Elders.
“All [parents] need when they come to their appointments is their listening ear, to feel comfortable, so that we then can really understand how we can best support them while they are connected with the program,” Mihi said.
Patrice said that joining ParentsNext helped her develop a goal and a plan to reach that goal.
“I actually have a clear mind on what I want to do when my children and myself get older. My goal is to finish my business course and to open my own nail shop from home and go from there,” Patrice said.
“I would recommend people to come here to, like, relax and talk about your goals. Coming here has kind of bought me out of my shell.”