Jobs Academy, a Future Women initiative supporting women to return to work, increase their working hours and secure long-term employment after a career break, is being extended thanks to funding through the Women’s Leadership Development Program.
As part of the Morrison Government’s 2022-23 Budget announcement overnight, $8.7 million has been granted to Future Women for an expansion of Jobs Academy, which will see 2,000 women undertake the online learning and professional development program over the next three years.
Speaking from Canberra, Future Women Founder and Managing Director Helen McCabe said that the announcement would provide a wide range of opportunities to women who are often overlooked.
“The women in Jobs Academy have the skills and experience to be incredible leaders in the workplace, and with tailored mentoring, support and professional development through the Academy, that’s exactly what they’ll achieve,” said Ms McCabe.
“Now we get to extend that opportunity to thousands of women across the country, at a time when they need it most.”
Jobs Academy was created in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, and its specific impacts on women. At the height of COVID-related lockdowns in 2020, women were more likely to lose work and more likely to take on more unpaid labour than men.
Head of Jobs Academy, Rebecca Hansen, said that the unique barriers women face in returning to work after a career break meant that women’s long-term economic security was at risk.
“The pilot intake of Jobs Academy has a diverse group of women that are all tackling a similar challenge – difficulty returning to work after taking a career break. Some have had children, others have been caring for adult family members and some have had to take time out to manage their own health,” Ms Hansen said.
“It’s really promising to see this investment from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, which will particularly help women over the age of 45, who may be navigating a return to work after several years out from their careers.”
Ms McCabe also urged employers to consider their flexible work options to capture this group of women.
“The Jobs Academy pilot has highlighted the challenges many women experience in finding flexible work. Most employers claim to offer flexible work but in practice it is quite hard to access,” she said.
The pilot intake of Jobs Academy launched in December 2021, thanks to support from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Office for Women, and in partnership with Gidget Foundation Australia.