Morrison government to spend $75 million on women returning to work

Morrison government to spend $75 million on women re-entering the workforce

Scott Morrison has pledged to spend $75 million on financial support for up to 40,000 Australian women looking to re-enter the workforce after having children through the Mid-Career Checkpoint Program.

The Mid-Career Checkpoint initiative will be targeted at women aged 30 to 45, but men aged 30-45 who have undertaken leave to care for family members will also have the opportunity to participate.

“Our new Mid-Career Checkpoint program is about backing the women and men who have taken family time and want to work or work more,” Morrison said of the new initiative.

“Giving more people the choice and skills to get back into the workforce is key to our plan for a stronger economy.”

“We’ve already overseen 1.3 million new jobs but backing women who have left their careers to take up the job of looking after their family, and who want to return to work, is key to achieving our ambitious target of creating an extra 1.25 million new jobs over the next five years.”

Michelle Ayyuce, co-founder of Zipwire, a start up specialising in supporting professional career returns, has questioned the value of the program and return on investment of the funding. Zipwire has spent 12 months researching the topic.

“The program only focusses on the career returner, yet we know the biggest barriers lie within organisations, with recruitment bias, rigid role structures and poor onboarding, being significant issues in re-entering,” Ayyuce said.

The Mid-Career Checkpoint Program is directed towards those who have been out of the workforce for at least two years and don’t have a similar program available in their current job.

Participants in the program would receive assistance with components such as interview tips, advice and computer skills.

According to Ayyuce, the components offered in the government program are not the personal barriers women are facing, nor are they related to why they are not re-entering.

“In fact, they don’t even make it into our top 5. Globally, we know that professional returners who are actively sought by companies and supported will pick up the skills required. You don’t unlearn,” Ayyuce said.

“If the outcome is to get experienced and talented women back into the workforce then the government needs to dig a bit deeper and take the time to understand the returner journey back in.”

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