From 1 July more Australian parents will be able to access vital assistance to help them prepare for, or return to, work with a $24.7 million boost to the Morrison Government’s ParentsNext program, which is set to particularly benefit women’s economic security.
ParentsNext is a pre-employment program that helps parents identify their education and work goals, develop pathways to success, and link them to activities and services in their community. From 1 July 2021, changes to the program will deliver an enhanced and more targeted set of supports for parents who are at greater risk of long-term unemployment.
The changes will ensure all ParentsNext providers have flexible access to financial assistance through the Participation Fund to help participants meet their education and employment goals. Relocation assistance and up to $10,000 in employer wage subsidies will also be available to eligible participants who are ready to start work. Any Parenting Payment recipient with a child under six years of age will be able to volunteer to take part in the program and receive the same high-quality service as all other participants.
To date ParentsNext has supported over 74,000 parents commence study and over 41,000 others take up a job opportunity. With 95 per cent of those supported women and 80 per cent single, the data demonstrates ParentsNext is supporting thousands of women overcome significant barriers to reaching their career aspirations.
Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, Stuart Robert, said the changes to ParentsNext, builds on its success to date and will help thousands of parents across the country better plan and prepare for work before their youngest child starts school.
‘There are significant barriers for parents to get back into the workforce and this is especially the case for women, Indigenous Australians and those from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, so it is encouraging to see ParentsNext seeing high take up from across these groups,’ he said.
‘While it has been excellent to see female employment reach record levels in May we want to see even more women take up training opportunities right across the skills spectrum and we want to see more women getting back in to work.’
More information is available at: www.dese.gov.au/parentsnext
The ParentsNext program started in 10 locations in April 2016. It was rolled out nationally to all employment regions, excluding remote areas on 2 July 2018.
As at 31 May 2021, there are over 76,000 participants in the program. Of this:
- 95 per cent are women
- 21 per cent are indigenous
- 20 per cent are Culturally and Linguistically Diverse, and
- 80 per cent are single.
Since the introduction of mutual obligation requirements in July 2018, attendance at appointments has increased from 67 to 80 per cent.
From 1 July 2021 the program will have the following enhancements:
- Any Parenting Payment recipient with a child under six years of age will be able to volunteer to participate in the program.
- All providers will have access to the Participation Fund to help all participants achieve their education and employment goals.
- The Participation Fund is a flexible pool of funds providers can use to help participants prepare for education and employment. For example, a provider may access the Participation Fund to contribute to the costs of a training course or materials, or towards the purchase of licenses, equipment and clothing items to help a participant into employment, if this is something the participant is ready for.
- Education and employment outcome payments will be extended to all providers to further encourage program outcomes.
- Access to relocation assistance and wage subsidies will be available for all participants.