By William Cowie
Many families make the decision for one parent, often the mother, to stay home and care for their babies. Eventually, the children reach an age where the mother decides to return to the workplace. It isn’t always a smooth or easy transition though, so if you are a mum returning to work, here are some tips and services to help you out.
Services to help mothers returning to work get employment
Training & education for return to work mums
After several years out of the formal workforce, your professional skills might need a refresher or you might be looking to formalise and expand your abilities. Either way there are courses that can help you out. Women at Work Australia runs the Women’s Re-Entry to Work Association which offers return-to-work courses in the South East Queensland region for women, including mothers returning to work. They also have a number of programs teaching essential computer skills with programs like Word, Excel and other applications. Give them a call to find out more about how they can help you.
You can also take advantage of TAFEs or private training providers like Inspire Education to formalise or earn a qualification, or further your abilities. Online training can be idea for a mother going back to work as you can work at your own pace from home while still performing your parenting duties. Many vocational courses offer good immediate employment prospects while also laying the foundations for further study. Some of our courses can be used as entry paths to university, so you can continue your education in the future to fully develop your expertise.
Popular jobs & courses for mothers returning to work
Many mothers are looking for a job or career that will allow them to strike a balance between time at work and parenting. Part time & casual roles can be ideal as they allow a mother the flexibility to work the hours they need while also having time to spend with their children.
Flexible job ideas
You’re already experienced working with and caring for children, so why not translate that expertise into a paying job? Child care is a growth industry in Australia and offers opportunity for casual/flexible working arrangements. The Australian government recently announced $300 million in funding to increase wages for qualified child care workers!
You must hold (or be working towards) a Certificate III in Children’s Services qualification to work in the industry from the start of 2014, so the sooner you start your training the better. Half of staff working in child care centres will also need to hold, or be working towards, a Diploma of Children’s Services qualification. You need to complete the Certificate III before you can do the Diploma, and continuing with your training is a good way to open up employment opportunities.
A number of bookkeeping jobs can be done from home thanks to the power of the internet. This means you can enjoy a great deal of job flexibility while also being available to care for your children. A number of qualifications allow you to start working in this profession, such as the Certificate III in Accounts Administration and Certificate III & IV in Business Administration. Taking the Certificate IV in Accounting or Certificate IV in Bookkeeping is ideal though, as these qualifications meet the Tax Practitioners Board education requirements for registered BAS (Business Activity Statement) agents which increases your value in the financial services field.
Thanks to the ‘ageing’ of Australia’s population, aged care is projected to be a major growth industry now and into the future. Working in a front line role in the industry can be a good way to find a job with flexible hours, as many aged care centres need staff on hand around the clock. This offers you opportunities to work around your children’s schedule so you are available for them when they need you.
Though there isn’t a legal minimum training requirement, the aged care industry does self-regulate to some extent and most aged care providers expect people to hold the Certificate III in Aged Care, or an equivalent course.
The Certificate III in Home and Community Care would be more suited to someone wanting to go out into the community to help the elderly, while the Certificate III in Disability Work opens up similar care roles, but working with people of all ages who live with a disability. Any of these qualifications can be ideal entry paths into a long term care career for someone looking to help people in a direct and meaningful way.
Job sites and employment services for mums returning to work
Finding a job can be half the battle as a mother returning to work. Australia has a number of job websites where you can look for employment opportunities. Check out sites like CareerOne, MyCareer, JobSeeker, and many, many more. Don’t forget to look at the Government’s own job site, Job Search!
There are also employment services available to assist you with your job hunt. Talk to Job Services Australia, a service funded by the Australian Government to help connect employees with employers. Private employment services are also available and can do some of the heavy lifting in your journey as a return to work mum.
After enjoying the autonomy of raising your own children, the prospect of working for someone else is no longer appealing to you? In that case, starting your own business could be the right path for you. You might already have an idea and the qualifications or skills you need to realise it. For those who don’t, several of the flexible job options mentioned earlier can also be translated into a successful small business.
Oonce you’ve become qualified in child care, you can start your own family day care business and care for children in your own home. Family Day Care Australia (FDCA) is the national peak body for family day can services and offer a wealth of information and resources for anyone interested in starting a family day care business. You’ll need a Diploma of Children’s Services to operate your family day care business, or a Certificate III in Children’s Services to work for one.
Bookkeeping also offers small business opportunities. Many small businesses in your community will need bookkeeping services, so you can set yourself up as a contract bookkeeper to fill their financial services needs. You’ll still be able to do a lot of bookkeeping work remotely and you can regulate your own hours by taking on more or less clients. Don’t forget to register as a BAS Agent if you’re planning on completing Business Activity Statements.
Resources for starting a small business
The Government has developed a handy business resource site, business.gov.au, which is a wealth of information about everything you need to do to get started. Check out their How-to Guide: Thinking of starting a small business, it’s a great resource for developing your business idea. Best of luck with your new venture!
Child support services for mothers returning to work
Raising a child is challenging at the best of times, let alone while you’re balancing work and parenting duties. Sometimes working mothers (and the whole family!) just need some help or advice on how to overcome the latest challenge that has arisen – perhaps being a sleep deprived parent! There are professional parent coaching and parent assistance services available to help you out. Cradle 2 Kindy Parenting Solutions is one such service, ready to help you out with their comprehensive experience with children and a huge range of problems & behaviours.
Child care services for working mums
Child care services in Australia have been through a major overhaul in recent years. New regulations have been enacted that govern aspects of the quality of service provided, particularly for children up to the age of five. Improved carer-to-child ratios, minimum qualifications for child care workers and the need to have an early childhood teacher work with the kids for a minimum number of hours each week are all part of program. If you’re a mum returning to work and your children aren’t quite ready to start school yet, then these improved professional child care services can be a great tool to help you out when you need someone to help with the kids. The Government’s MyChild.gov.au website is the best starting place for all your child care related needs. It has a wealth of tools including information about the latest changes, child care cost estimators, information on types of services available and government ratings of many child care centres in Australia. It is Australia’s national online child care portal and an essential resource for anyone planning to use child care.
Best wishes for your success!!
Transitioning from full time parenthood to part time or full time paid employment can be challenging. Take your time if possible and get trained in a field that offers you the flexible and/or emotionally satisfying work you want. Many mothers choose not to go back to full time employment until all their children are at school, high school or even later. Returning to work can offer many benefits though: personal income, contact and socialisation with other adults, and the satisfaction of helping others or a job well done. So best of luck with finding a job that suits you!
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