The stories of ParentsNext participants and how the program helped them find their next step.
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Cassie’s path is clearer thanks to ParentsNext
A lot has happened to Cassie since her referral to her ParentsNext provider, Multicultural Australia in 2018. Cassie was initially unsure of what she wanted to do for the future, but after several appointments with Memory, her ParentsNext case worker, a career path gradually took shape.
With Memory’s guidance, Cassie decided to enrol in a Diploma in Mortuary Sciences and secured a job with a local funeral home. Cassie enjoyed the job and its responsibilities - “igniting a hunger for more”. With growing confidence, Cassie enrolled in an online Anatomy and Physiology short course in 2020 and earned wonderful reviews from her assessors.
Cassie continued on her career pathway and with Memory as one of her referees she successfully applied for a job in Pathology, saying, “My life continued to transform in a positive way.” While gaining valuable experience in the health care environment, Cassie completed a First Aid and CPR course and then enrolled in Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS) - a vocational pathway to higher education and on completion plans to study nursing.
“I have had wonderful experiences and have a lot to thank ParentsNext for,” Cassie says. “I acquired support every step of the way and I cannot recommend the program enough to those who feel lost or not sure what they want to do. I would say, just go ahead and harness the opportunities available, try something you have never done before, and the path will be clearer.”
Boushra gains independence and is a step closer to achieving her goals
After working as a psychologist in Syria and migrating to Australia, Boushra’s goals were to improve her English, gain her driver’s licence and become an accredited psychologist in Australia.
Boushra’s ParentsNext provider, Workskil Australia, used the Participation Fund (PF) to cover some of the costs for driving lessons. This helped ease some financial pressure for Boushra whilst caring for her young family. Boushra was able to achieve her first goal and passed her driving test the first time. Getting her licence is a step on the road to achieving her dreams and offers greater independence that will help her on her journey to being an accredited psychologist in Australia.
“My life is so different now; I have more freedom and I can now take my son to school and attend important medical appointments with my youngest son. I am more confident in myself and within the community.”
Despite COVID-19 restrictions, Joreen pursued her goal of working in aged care, supported by ParentsNext
Joreen pursued her goals despite the challenges of COVID-19
ParentsNext provider: Women's Health and Family Services, WA
Joreen was interested in working in the aged care sector and with the help of ParentsNext, started studying a Certificate III - in Individual Support (Aged Care), late in 2019.
Due to COVID-19, Joreen was unable to complete the practical placement of the course because facilities had stopped taking placements. She was also unable to sit for her driver's licence, which she wanted to do to gain more independence as well as help her with getting to future job opportunities, as tests were put on hold.
Joreen and her ParentsNext consultant at Women's Health and Family Services decided to adjust her goals and focus on preparing to find employment when COVID-19 restrictions had eased. So Joreen received assistance to prepare a quality resume and cover letter.
Once COVID-19 restrictions eased, her ParentsNext consultant helped Joreen find an Aged Care facility to complete her practical placement. Joreen started a new role as a support worker in early 2021. Talking about her new role, Joreen said, "I know my residents are extremely grateful to have a place where they can keep their dignity and independence for as long as possible, and I think it is great".
Joreen has also obtained her Driver's Licence and is happy and grateful to have achieved her goals – in spite of the challenges and disruptions due to COVID-19.
"There is so much I love about my job. I get to help people every single day".
Grace is on the runway to success - from personal tragedy to pursuing her passion to work in aviation
Grace is pursuing her goal of a career in aviation.
ParentsNext provider: National Joblink, TAS
Born and educated in Poland, Grace came to Australia in 2000 and worked at Kraft Foods. In 2002, she proudly became an Australian Citizen and was expecting her first child when she was involved in a serious accident and became unemployed.
After several years, Grace had expanded her family and moved interstate. To assist with her recovery, Grace started Taekwondo and won the 2019 gold and bronze medals in the State Championships.
Grace's ParentsNext provider, National Joblink, encouraged Grace to get involved in some family activities to help her meet new people and develop self-confidence. After some time and research, Grace identified her dream job was to become an Air Traffic Controller and National Joblink helped her get closer to her goal. Her first step was to become a Pilot. Grace had to save for a pilot's licence, but with the Government's COVID-19 Supplement, this has made achieving this goal earlier. Grace has started flying lessons and can already taxi the plane, take off and operate it in the air.
In her spare time, Grace is an active volunteer firefighter with her local brigade and is gaining new skills and knowledge to apply to her dream role. This includes starting an online wellbeing course at the University of Tasmania.
"My ParentsNext mentor goes beyond anything to make you feel welcome, give you hope and motivation and help in your efforts in finding a job and get you ready to find a job," she said.
Grace wanted to share her story to inspire others to believe in themselves and know they too could achieve great outcomes.
Rebecca's story – finding a passion for supporting families
ParentsNext provider: UnitingSA, SA
Through her ParentsNext provider Uniting SA, Rebecca participated in the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY). HIPPY is a two-year, home-based, early learning and parenting program for families with young children. She also attended several Anglicare programs such as Coffee Links, kids club, cooking, health and fitness classes.
After having some dental work completed in March 2019, Rebecca's confidence was boosted. She told her ParentsNext consultant she was interested in study and employment options and wanted to gain new employability skills.
With assistance from her provider, Rebecca completed certificates in First Aid and Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA). She also successfully completed an Introduction to Working with Children and Families, a 10-week course.
In December 2019, Rebecca was offered an interview to be a HIPPY tutor, the program she had enjoyed doing with her own children. Her ParentsNext consultant assisted Rebecca with funding from the Participation Fund for new work clothing. After the interview, Rebecca was offered part-time work.
Rebecca is continuously learning and enjoying her role as a HIPPY tutor. Rebecca is enjoying working with families and using alternative ways of connecting via phone and video.
Kellie signs up for a career helping other Auslan users
ParentsNext provider: Uniting, VIC
Kellie, who is hearing-impaired, is determined to find stable employment and provide financial security for her young family. She also wants to be a good role model to her two hearing-impaired children.
Kellie has a broad range of work experience – including catering, as a room attendant, barista and cleaner. She is adaptable and was willing to take on new opportunities however she needed a job that offered flexible working hours to accommodate her children's school drop-offs and pick-ups.
Kellie and her ParentsNext consultant built a strong rapport and discussed a range of career pathways. Together they came up with the role of Support Worker with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Kellie is an Auslan (sign language) user, so her ParentsNext consultant contacted Hire Up, an NDIS provider, to explore the idea of recruiting a person with Auslan. Hire Up's response was positive – they were interested in recruiting an Auslan user to help them communicate with hearing impaired clients.
Kellie was well on her way to completing training to work in the NDIS. Her consultant also assisted Kellie to update her resume, helped Kellie complete the necessary workplace checks and supported her application for a role with Hire Up.
ParentsNext helped Nessrin to get closer to her goal of working in healthcare
L-R, Anna, ParentsNext Wesley Mission consultant with ParentsNext participant, Nessrin.
ParentsNext provider: Wesley Mission, New South Wales
Nessrin has overcome several barriers to complete her studies and reach her goal of working in the healthcare sector. She has been supported all the way by her ParentsNext provider, Wesley Mission.
Before participating in ParentsNext, Nessrin did not have any work history or education and felt her life lacked direction. After a few appointments with her provider, Nessrin was able to set some goals to study and work in the health care sector.
“I came in as a mother of four with no goals or motivation. After spending time with Anna, my ParentsNext consultant, I knew she would be doing her very best to assist me to pursue my goals. Anna is the most amazing person, who I knew from the beginning, did not judge me and went out of her way to deliver her very best. She truly has the power to change lives.”
Although it was a challenge juggling full-time study and raising four children, Nessrin completed a Certificate II in Further Studies and a Certificate III in Business Administration — Medical. She was supported all the way by her ParentsNext consultant, including getting a laptop for her studies using funds available to participants from the ParentsNext Participation Fund.
Nessrin’s children were very proud of their mum and loved seeing her study and attend class.
Andreia landed her dream job with support from ParentsNext
When Andreia joined ParentsNext in 2018, after five years of being a stay at home mum, she was looking for a way to support herself and her family independently.
Continued support for parents during COVID-19
Innovative service delivery is helping ParentsNext participants achieve their education goals and build their personal support networks even during shutdown.
During this difficult COVID-19 period, ParentsNext participants are continuing to achieve their goals by embracing new ways of learning. A key focus for the ParentsNext program is to support participants back into work once their youngest child turns six, through appointments and activities. ParentsNext also helps participants to build their support networks.
Eight of Mission Australia’s ParentsNext participants have been undertaking a Certificate II in Skills for Work and Vocational Pathways. The training was being delivered face-to-face one day per week. Due to the COVID-19 shutdown, the participants were unable to attend the sessions and were worried they wouldn’t be able to continue working towards their Certificate II.
Impressed by the group’s enthusiasm to continue their study, Mission Australia and the trainer quickly found an innovative way to deliver their services and support the participants through the training. They worked with each participant to ensure they could use online video conferencing software.
After two weeks, the group could easily use the technology and formed a special bond – even meeting with each other online outside of the course.
Staff at Mission Australia said that that while the shutdown presented some challenges that initially seemed insurmountable disruption.
“But by finding new ways of servicing, parents had a fantastic opportunity to continue their study and build their personal support networks,” Amber Leschke, Mission Australia, ParentsNext Area Manager QLD said.
“The participants have adapted to the new way of learning so well that they have suggested doing additional components of the training via online video conferencing, as it enables them to learn while still caring for their children.
“The proof is in these smiling faces!”
Supporting Indigenous parents
Mihi Waihape, ParentsNext program manager with Workways in Logan, Queensland, worked closely with Patrice to help her find direction and take steps toward her goal of running a nail salon.
Qualified for the job
After leaving school and starting a family, Natasha didn’t believe she could launch a career, but with the help of ParentsNext she found a calling in aged care.