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By Murray Silby, Senior Journalist, Shepparton News


Ambition: Rebecca Noki (pictured second from left) is originally from Papua New Guinea and hopes to train as a childcare worker through a new initiative being rolled out in Shepparton.

A new initiative designed to bring social and economic benefits to women from diverse backgrounds and ease labour shortages in a key sector has been launched in Shepparton.

The WomenCAN Early Years program was launched at GOTAFE in Shepparton on Thursday, February 15 with the aim of training women through an earn-and-learn model to help boost the number of workers in the childcare sector.

The initiative is a collaboration between WomenCAN Australia, Greater Shepparton Foundation, Greater Shepparton City Council, The Bowden Marstan Foundation and GOTAFE.

“We’re all about getting women back to work and so our goal for today is to take 20 women from diverse communities through a peer-led certificate in early childhood education, a traineeship and into employment with various childcare providers in Shepparton and surrounds,” WomenCAN Founder and CEO Mikaela Stafrace said.

Benefits: WomenCAN Founder and CEO Mikaela Stafrace says there are many great benefits in helping women participate in the workforce.

Ms Stafrace said the benefits of helping women find jobs, particularly in sectors like childcare, could run deeply through a community.

“If women are available in the childcare sector, it means that then another woman is released to be able to leave her child and go and get a job so you get two jobs for the price of one if you invest in childcare,” she said.

“We understand from independent analysis that of the 800 women that we’ve taken through our programs, we’ve returned a fiscal dividend to the Federal Government of something in the order of $40 million.

“That’s with women coming off Centrelink and the increased tax pool created by them now working.”

Gul Jafari migrated to Australia from Afghanistan with her family, her mother, father and three siblings.

Ms Jafari has enrolled to undertake childcare training and sees it as a pathway to helping her family.

“If we do a job, we are busy, we make ourselves busy and find the money, and we can pay the rent. Everything is expensive,” she said.

“Work is better.”

Rebecca Noki is originally from Papua New Guinea and also plans to take up the course with the goal of working in childcare.

“I want to do that because I’m a single mother of two and I feel like it’s a great opportunity,” she said.

“As for myself, I put them in childcare and I go to work so it empowers me to work as well.”

Learn more about the Greater Shepparton Childcare program here.


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