The ParentsNext program supports parents looking for a pathway into employment. It is open to eligible parents on the parenting payment with children under the age of six. Through the program, parents have access to employment guidance, support, training and education. They can also access help with reducing barriers such as transport and childcare to get them back into the workforce.

Melissa Naylor leads Community Solutions ParentsNext program across Queensland. From her experience, Melissa says that the biggest challenge a lot of parents face is a lack of confidence in the skills they already possess. If this sounds familiar, here’s some top tips from Melissa to recognise your talents and turn them into your next job.

Acknowledge that parenting takes skill

“Many parents think they have this massive gap on their resume from raising children. We find that they don’t look at what new skills they pick up from being a parent,” says Melissa.

“One of our parents from Mackay, Karen, thought she had nothing to offer. We found there were a lot of jobs Karen has the skills for like support worker, cleaner, courier driver.”

Parents do a lot of things they don’t take credit for on a resume. Such as scheduling, people management, cleaning, transport, volunteering, event management, admin tasks, which are all transferrable skills into employment.

When working with parents, Melissa says it just about pulling out those skills and matching them with jobs in demand in the area.

Talk through any challenges stopping you from getting back into the workforce

Many of the parents that come through the ParentsNext program struggle with one or many challenges that stop them from getting back into work. And, a lot of these barriers can be solved, or at least managed, so they can move forward with their employment journey.

For example, Karen believed there was no way to access things like training and upskilling, or work clothes that would help her get a job due to financial difficulties.

However, Melissa and the team were able to provide financial support to help her with transport, training modules, key requirements for the industry including a Blue Car, Yellow Card, First Aid Certificate with CPR, uniform for interviews and tools for her job.

Also, Karen has six children to care for and a physical injury. So, she thought there was no way to find a job that would work around her life.

“We told Karen about all the opportunities that were available to suit her lifestyle. We encouraged Karen to undertake a health care plan with her GP to receive physio for her injury. There is online study she could do at home, although she felt she would be better in a class. So, we explored a course that would fit in with her kids’ schooling and childcare.” Said Melissa.

Build your confidence through training and experience

Next is believing in your ability and building up confidence so that you’re ready to go back into the workforce. A great way to enable this is to take up a course that will provide you with a qualification and experience in the industry you want to work in.

“While this looks great on the resume, the biggest benefit we see is how much confidence it gives parents.” Said Melissa.

Karen took part in our Skilling Queenslanders for Work program which provides accredited training for those who are unemployed and looking to get back to work. Undertaking a Cert III in Individual Support, Karen was well on her way to finding employment.

“Karen gained a lot of confidence once she started the course. She started in small group classes where they are all supportive of each other,” says Melissa. “It was just about getting Karen to believe in her ability. Once Karen started the course, she started to believe in herself.”

Talk through your interests and employment goals

We all want different things from a job. For instance, maybe there’s an industry you’ve always wanted to be in? Or, that the most important thing is that the job fits around your family or lifestyle? By talking through your wants and needs with a ParentsNext Case Manager, they can help guide you on the right course and connect you with the right job opportunities.

“You just have to persevere until you find the right avenue or pathway for them that’s going to work. Connect with them and help them find their passion.” Said Melissa.

Karen wanted to help people. Therefore, Melissa and the team guided her on a path into support work. Karen is now a permanent disability support worker and already has her next goal of becoming a team leader.

“If you are positive with people and encourage them to be the best they can be, they often achieve their goals and more. People like Karen is why we love the program.  We can help change people’s lives.” Said Melissa.

If you’re a parent with a child under six and are trying to figure out a way back into the workforce, or need some help with the steps to get there, learn more about how the ParentsNext program can support you.

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