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By Alex Gretgrix, Bendigo Advertiser


WomenCAN Australia Peer Support Officer, Simone with graduates Say Yu, Kathryn and Kristy.

More women are filling aged care skills shortages in Bendigo thanks to peer supported traineeships.

For Kristy, the traineeship has been invaluable.

"I'm so happy with the career I have," Kristy said.

"And that is thanks to WomenCAN. They have changed my life.

Kristy was among the first group of aged care trainees to graduate from a program designed to get more women into the industry following stints in Bendigo facilities.

Kristy and fellow trainees Say Yu and Kathryn have worked with their host employer Bentleys in Bendigo thanks to the help of WomenCAN Australia.

After their traineeships, the women will continue their work in the city as personal care workers.

"We were all going through the training together full of support from other trainees and the program," Kristy said.

Bentleys' Margaret Hamilton said it was an "absolute delight" to have had the trainees at their facility.

"It has been an honour to watch them grow and build their skills to reach their own personal achievement," she said.

"Through the incentive from WomenCAN Australia it has become achievable for women to access training and build skills not only to support them but also financially support themselves and their families."

WomenCAN Australia assists women achieve financial independence through free training, employment and peer support.

It has partnered with Jobs Victoria to place 200 women in training and jobs, and is expanding rapidly, such is the success of the peer supported ''earn and learn'' program.

Through the initiative, women have the opportunity to work and earn an income while they also train and build skills for their new career in the aged care industry.

They receive mentoring and support to ensure their success during their 12-month, fulltime and part time roles in the sector.

"When women come together in a peer led setting to support each other with a shared lived experience, their transition back into the workforce is much more likely to be successful and sustainable," Ms Hamilton said.

"Not only is this a powerful outcome for women but also for their children and the communities they live and thrive in."

WomenCAN Australia is prioritising women, including those over 45, those from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and newly arrived migrants from non-English speaking backgrounds, for recruitment.

The program offers employment opportunities ranging from caring directly for clients to working in supporting roles, such as administration, laundry, or cleaning.

If you are an aged care or childcare provider or woman looking to re-enter the workforce, visit or call Trish Bourke on 0434 781 942 to learn more.

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