Women to benefit as employment grants extended

Women who live outside major cities, are Indigenous, veterans or face other challenges finding work will get a helping hand with the extension of a government support program.

A new round of grants has been made available under the NSW government Return To Work Pathways program, providing up to $2 million to support women to train for and get jobs.

Applications for the grants open on Monday following a launch in 2023 that funded 13 projects and delivered more than 1100 hours of employment support and on-the-job training, the government says.

Organisations with tailored programs aimed at removing barriers to women re-entering the workforce by providing training and mentoring support are eligible for grants between $100,000 and $250,000.

The program is focused on helping women overcome hurdles to getting a job, NSW Minister for Women Jodie Harrison said.

“By creating pathways into work and careers for women, it means they can have financial security and face life’s challenges with confidence,” she said on Monday.

NSW Minister for Women Jodie Harrison
Jodie Harrison says the funding will go towards creating pathways to get women into paid work.

The 2023 funding round included a $150,000 grant for social enterprise organisation Plate It Forward to provide training and employment for refugee women in hospitality venues.

“All 15 women supported by (the program) have not only maintained their employment and increased their skills but also demonstrated a newfound self-assurance while doing so,” Plate It Forward head of impact Gemma Clendining said.

Many of the women the organisation has worked with faced challenges finding work due to limited experience or English language skills, and have been reliant on government support as their main source of income, Ms Clendining said.

The program’s funding aims to support women who are Indigenous, have a disability or mental illness, are in contact with the criminal justice system, are veterans, live in regional, rural or remote areas, or have diverse genders and sexualities.

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