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Amy, 24, has faced many challenges in life.

She had been out of the workforce since she had her two children, a five year old boy and a two year old girl.

Relationship difficulties and the challenges of being a single parent made it hard to imagine getting back into working.

Amy is one of more than 300 people in Logan and Browns Plains that have joined YFS’ new ParentsNext program since it started on the 1st of April 2016.

ParentsNext gave Amy a headstart to return to the workforce.

Within two weeks, YFS referred Amy to Break Thru, where she currently undertakes the theory part of her traineeship under the Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative, with paid work experience at Stoddart Manufacturing and Substation33, YFS’ electronic waste recycling social enterprise.

Amy describes it as a very quick process: before she knew it, she had started hands-on training in Construction.

“I’m now looking into making it further in my career; I want to get more skills. It has been an absolute joy. I now have pretty much a straight routine and I’m happy with it.”

Like for many parents, working brought a big change in Amy’s life. She is looking forward to finishing her traineeship in November and going into a full time job or an apprenticeship.

ParentsNext project manager Rachel Smith said the project is designed for Logan parents who need help to return to the workforce or into education.

“We help parents with young children prepare for future employment and gain confidence, skills and knowledge so they are ready to join the workforce when their children start school,” Ms Smith said.

“To be eligible for ParentsNext, they just have to have a child under the age of six and no paid employment in the last six months,” she added.

ParentsNext welcomes eligible parents from the Logan area. Some parents are referred by Centrelink as a condition of receiving Parenting Payment; others voluntarily self-refer to the program.

“They refer themselves because they are finding it hard to navigate the maze of returning to work; they just don’t know how to do it or sometimes they are not sure whether they have the required industry skills,” Ms Smith said.

“We help them access child care. Once we have that covered, we then look at study. Most of the courses are structured for school hours too, so they’re designed for parents. It’s about helping them move forward, step by step,” she said.

ParentsNext prepares parents return to work by helping them with:

  • identifying work and education goals and making a plan to achieve them
  • creating a resume
  • writing a cover letter
  • preparing for an interview
  • enrolling in short courses and upskilling programs/ training
  • navigating the job search system
  • learning to look for and apply for jobs.

Rachel said parents participating in ParentsNext were keen to work once their children were old enough, because they understood that working helped them achieve financial independence, social connections and positive self-esteem.

YFS offers ParentsNext services by appointment at:

YFS – 376 Kingston Road, Slacks Creek
YFS’ offices Browns Plains- 2204/ 20-24 Commerce Drive, Browns Plains
Logan North Library Underwood from 31 August 2016.

For more information call ParentsNext on (07) 38261 500.