WomenCAN Australia Logo

Born of Need,
Growing Fast,
Working Hard,
Fighting for Change

WomenCAN Australia was established in 2019 to assist women obtain skills and jobs.  We recognised the opportunity for women who have, often been out of the paid workforce for years providing care to others.

The genesis of WomenCAN Australia is ingrained unfairness. The barriers of bias and discrimination against women compelled Mikaela Stafrace to set up the organisation after she realised her successful corporate law career had left her needing a fuller sense of purpose.

WomenCAN Australia is surging. Women, often facing difficult circumstances, access vocational training which is free through TAFE and guaranteed 12 months employment as Trainees. They ‘earn and learn’ at the same time.

Employers have access to dedicated, reliable, skilled staff. Women needing trades work done access quality, affordable trades work delivered through our social enterprise.

And the economy and communities get stronger.

The organisation focusses on aged care, childcare, transport, and trades for the moment. But its close connection to communities means it picks up on what’s happening in the labour market early, and so is well-placed to help Australia’s women help fix Australia’s skills shortage.

We have tax-deductible charitable status and are registered with the Australian Charities Not-for-profit Commission, the Australian Taxation Office and Social Traders. 

Aged Care
WomenCAN Australia team picture.
"It’s so exciting, I love my job… I’m new here in Australia… but WomenCAN staff are there for me, to guide me all the way."
Teira, Aged Care Trainee

Our Genesis Story

Mikaela Stafrace, a former corporate lawyer, is founder and CEO of WomenCAN Australia. 

Mikaela Stafrace set up WomenCAN Australia in 2019 after she realised her successful corporate law career of more than three decades had ceased satisfying her, leaving her needing a fuller sense of purpose.

So she quit her successful job and started helping other women get jobs. WomenCAN Australia, which operates in Bendigo, elsewhere in regional Victoria and in Melbourne, teams up with training institutions and employers to give free training and guaranteed jobs to women and girls.

“Our earn and learn programs, coupled with our unique peer-support model called The Placement Circle, builds confidence in these women as they gain skills, employment, and financial independence. We’re growing fast and the women report that coming to us has changed their lives,’’ Mikaela says.

Her life has changed, too. Starting and running an organisation with a social and economic purpose inspires her; she’s thriving along with WomenCAN Australia “It’s thrilling and inspiring to see the effect the team’s work is having.’’

The organisation – a registered charity that receives funding from individual and corporate donors, the state government and philanthropists – has a staff of about 20 around Victoria and is currently working in aged care and childcare, as well as various trades. It runs a social enterprise that provides tradeswomen who do facilities maintenance and other work as commissioned.

Mikaela Stafrace WCA CEO

WomenCAN Australia is continuing to expand. “We’re picking up on increasing demand for hospitality workers in regional Victoria. Who knows who we’ll partner with next here to get more women trained and into great jobs,’’ Mikaela says.

Early Years Training Program has launched in Shepparton

Women from diverse communities can now benefit from WomenCAN Australia’s proven peer-led support program and be paid to train on-the-job in childcare or kindergarten.