16 March 2011

Return to work grants widened

| johnboy
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Joy Burch has the intriguing news that she’s making it easier for women returning to the workforce after child rearing to access the $1,000 Women’s Return to Work Grants.

ACT Minister for Women Burch said she instructed the ACT Office for Women to expand the criteria to include women who have been out of the workforce for an extended period of time due to caring responsibilities. Previously only women with children under the age of 16 had been eligible.

“I have made these changes because I recognise that older women whose children are beyond school age might also face similar challenges when they try to re-enter the workforce as younger mothers,” Ms Burch said.

“I understand that in the modern day returning to work after an extended period of time out of employment due to caring responsibilities can be an expensive and difficult and daunting experience, and this grants program ought to be available to women in this situation too.”

The Return to Work Grants Program has been running for two years and provides financial support for women on low incomes to assist with costs associated with things such as attending short courses, paying for childcare to attend job interviews, and undertaking further education and formal training. Each grant provides $1,000 to successful applicants.

One wonders what grant programs can be made available for every other sector of society that face “expensive and difficult and daunting” experiences on a regular basis?

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The use of “women” is a bit misleading. It’s not for all women, just those who have been procreating recently. The programme should be Mothers’ Return to Work Grants.

It’s certainly a good time to be a parent, having money thrown at you from all directions.

Looks like a good idea to me if it helps people get back into employment.

That said, it’s a shame the program doesn’t appear to recognise those men who are primary carers of their children (I know, we live in crazy times!) who might equally appreciate the assistance…

“One wonders what grant programs can be made available for every other sector of society that face “expensive and difficult and daunting” experiences on a regular basis?”

I suspect the motivation is less altruistic than it might appear. The gov’t wants to get people back in the workforce because there is a chronic shortage of workers in the ACT, esp. in the service industry (or so they say). These people represent an “untapped” resource of workers that won’t require additional housing, schools, hospitals, etc. because they are already here.

Given the size of the grant it seems clear that they are not being groomed for executive positions.

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