Since launching in April last year, the Australian Government’s ParentsNext program has already helped more than 10,000 parents of small children into training and education or paid work.

It was announced in last month’s budget that the program is set to expand next year to help over 68,000 parents in at least 20 new locations nationally.

SYC has been running the program in the Playford and Hume Local Government Areas and we have already seen some really positive outcomes for participants who have found either educational or employment pathways.

One of our participants Amy, a mum to three children, gained enough confidence and skills through the program to go back to study creating a clear pathway to university, something she never thought she would be able to achieve.

ParentsNext Support Officer Ben worked with Amy to establish her goals and develop her employability skills. He said the program really helped her self esteem and desire to pursue further education.

“When Amy attended her initial appointment with us she was already thinking about enrolling in a women’s studies course run through the local Community Centre, she just needed the guidance and support to do it.

“She is now enrolled in TAFE to complete a bridging course to eventually transition to university. Her confidence and self-esteem has just soared, she is now really motivated to succeed and excited about the future.

“Quite often a small barrier can appear to be bigger than it is and having a ParentsNext Officer to help participants access the right services, means people are able to address these barriers more easily and move forward,” he said.

Amy is thankful for the support she received through the program and said that it has really helped her organise her thoughts and to make a plan and set goals for the future.

“They listened so very well, and they just understand that it is a scary thing coming into either study or into employment when you’ve been a parent for so long.

“Before, I knew that, I couldn’t feel the spark, I just couldn’t. But I can feel it now.

“The future for me and my children looks absolutely amazing, So many different opportunities are about to be opened for us and I’m very excited.” Amy said.

Amy is now part of a ParentsNext focus group which aims to get direct feedback from participants to help improve the program when it is rolled out beyond the initial 10 locations next year.