ParentsNext participant stories

The stories of ParentsNext participants and how the program helped them find their next step.

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Through ParentsNext, Bronwen landed her ideal job!  

As a ParentsNext participant, Bronwyn received tailored support and assistance, and now has her dream job!

Image of Jessa in uniform

Jessa has overcome many barriers on her way to achieving her goals

Jessa has faced significant barriers on the road to becoming a nurse. When Jessa started ParentsNext her goal was to study nursing, however the cost of university was a barrier. Thankfully, Jessa’s ParentsNext provider, Women’s Health and Family Service, was able to help cover some of her university fees with financial assistance through the ParentsNext Participation Fund. The Participation Fund also helped to cover the cost of some driving lessons so Jessa could get her driver’s license.

Earlier this year Jessa faced difficulties in finding an affordable rental property for her and her young son. Jessa’s provider helped her in her search for secure housing by assisting her to secure a bond and apply for rental assistance.

Jessa recently secured a job as a Nursing Assistant which has provided her with an income while she continues to study. She has also been successful in her search for secure housing. Jessa is thrilled with how far she has come in ParentsNext and is looking forward to finishing her nursing degree in a year.

I was struggling before attending ParentsNext because I am a single mother and was not financially stable enough support myself and my son. WHFS Case Managers were able to support me with driving lessons and tuition for University, without their help I would not have been able to pay my fees. The staff are all helpful and lovely and because of ParentsNext I was able to find a job, a house and progress in my studies, I have one more year to go before I graduate. Now I am confident to say that my life is better. I hope they can help more people like me who are struggling financially or people who may be lacking skills to be able to get jobs.

Grace is working towards her goals with assistance through the ParentsNext Participation Fund

When Grace started in ParentsNext she needed an interpreter when attending appointments with her ParentsNext provider, Workways. With the help of her ParentsNext consultant, Tamara, Grace was referred to the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) where she gained a Certificate II. Soon after, Grace started participating in the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program to further improve her English skills and help her achieve her long-term goal of working in the community services sector.

After Grace had completed the SEE program, Tamara helped her enrol in a Certificate III in Community Services through TAFE. Tamara also helped Grace to obtain her first aid and CPR certificates, Blue Card, and police check. Importantly, to make sure Grace had the tools she needed to undertake her studies, Workways purchased her a laptop with financial assistance through the ParentsNext Participation Fund.

Grace has now completed 120 hours of practical experience working in the sector and obtained a Certificate III in Community Services. Her next goal is to complete her Diploma and, with the on-going support of her ParentsNext provider, find employment in the sector. 

Well done Grace and thank you for sharing your story.

Grace standing next to a banner
Phenphitchaya standing next to a banner

Phenphitchaya overcomes obstacles to achieve her goals

Phenphitchaya has overcome many obstacles in her life and this is why her goal is to become a counsellor and help other people.

Phenphitchaya had low confidence when she started ParentsNext – she spoke very little English and didn’t know how to use a computer or email.  

Phenphitchaya’s ParentsNext consultant, Tiana from Asuria, helped her to enrol in a laptop literacy course specifically designed for ParentsNext participants. With financial assistance through the ParentsNext Participation Fund, Phenphitchaya was able to purchase a laptop and get access to the internet to complete her online training. Having completed her beginners laptop course, Phenphitchaya is now completing her intermediate course and working on her language and literacy skills.

Although COVID-19 lockdown has been disruptive for many people, Phenphitchaya has kept in touch with her provider and to stay on track with her goals. With increased confidence and improved skills, Phenphitchaya has set the goal of attending TAFE or university to study counselling and help other people who have experienced hardship.

Before coming to the ParentsNext program, I could not even turn a computer on, I had no confidence, and as a single Mum with two kids, I did not think I would be able to study. Since starting with ParentsNext and with the help and guidance of my Asuria Job Coach, I have completed basic computer workshops and I can now send an email without assistance. I have more confidence, and I am thankful for my coach, who is always welcoming. ParentsNext has helped me so much, and I now have goals of being able to help people in the future.

Maria is achieving her goals with assistance through the ParentsNext and SEE programs

Maria came to Australia as a refugee from Myanmar in 2010 with limited English skills. When Maria commenced in ParentsNext in 2016 her ParentsNext provider, Workways, enrolled her in language classes to help her engage more effectively with her children and other parents.

After her confidence had improved Maria started participating in the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program to improve her language, reading, writing and maths skills. Despite COVID-19 lockdowns Maria has continued her learning through on-line classes and workbooks. When she attended her recent ParentsNext appointment she was proud to show her ParentsNext coach, Kelli, all the work she had completed. She was also confident enough to talk to Kelli about her family and personal life without the assistance of an interpreting service.

Maria has come so far in her journey and has achieved her short-term goal of improving her English skills. Her longer-term goal is to get her driver’s license. Well done Maria and thank you for sharing your story.

Kylie has a clear plan for her future

Kylie had not heard of ParentsNext before, but she was hopeful it would give her the assistance she needed to find work when her twins started school.

Kylie’s first impression of Anita, her ParentsNext Consultant at Djerriwarrh Community & Education Services was very positive, “I felt very welcomed and was impressed with the service and very hopeful for the future.”

Right from the start, Anita worked with Kylie to understand her personal circumstance, barriers and aspirations. Together, Anita and Kylie developed a realistic Participation Plan that took Kylie’s caring responsibilities into account, but also helped her take small steps towards her long-term goal of starting a small business in social media marketing. During the during COVID-19 lockdowns in Victoria, Anita regularly reviewed Kylie’s Participation Plan and updated it to reflect her achievements.

As soon as Kylie’s twins started school in 2020, Kylie took the big step of beginning part-time work at a hotel. Kylie also started a Certificate III in Social Media Marketing which she is due to complete at the end of 2021 and has enrolled in a short Business Management course. 

Kylie says, “I feel I’m not so stuck now, I have a purpose.”

Kylie's story - ParentsNext

Cassie’s path is clearer thanks to ParentsNext

Image of Cassie

A lot has happened to Cassie since her referral to her ParentsNext provider, Multicultural Australia in 2018. Cassie was initially unsure of what she wanted to do for the future, but after several appointments with Memory, her ParentsNext case worker, a career path gradually took shape.

With Memory’s guidance, Cassie decided to enrol in a Diploma in Mortuary Sciences and secured a job with a local funeral home. Cassie enjoyed the job and its responsibilities - “igniting a hunger for more”. With growing confidence, Cassie enrolled in an online Anatomy and Physiology short course in 2020 and earned wonderful reviews from her assessors.

Cassie continued on her career pathway and with Memory as one of her referees she successfully applied for a job in Pathology, saying, “My life continued to transform in a positive way.”  While gaining valuable experience in the health care environment, Cassie completed a First Aid and CPR course and then enrolled in Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS) - a vocational pathway to higher education and on completion plans to study nursing.

“I have had wonderful experiences and have a lot to thank ParentsNext for,” Cassie says. “I acquired support every step of the way and I cannot recommend the program enough to those who feel lost or not sure what they want to do. I would say, just go ahead and harness the opportunities available, try something you have never done before, and the path will be clearer.”

Boushra gains independence and is a step closer to achieving her goals

After working as a psychologist in Syria and migrating to Australia, Boushra’s goals were to improve her English, gain her driver’s licence and become an accredited psychologist in Australia.

Boushra’s ParentsNext provider, Workskil Australia, used the Participation Fund (PF) to cover some of the costs for driving lessons. This helped ease some financial pressure for Boushra whilst caring for her young family. Boushra was able to achieve her first goal and passed her driving test the first time. Getting her licence is a step on the road to achieving her dreams and offers greater independence that will help her on her journey to being an accredited psychologist in Australia.

“My life is so different now; I have more freedom and I can now take my son to school and attend important medical appointments with my youngest son. I am more confident in myself and within the community.”

Despite COVID-19 restrictions, Joreen pursued her goal of working in aged care, supported by ParentsNext

Joreen pursued her goals despite the challenges of COVID-19

Joreen pursued her goals despite the challenges of COVID-19

ParentsNext provider: Women's Health and Family Services, WA

Joreen was interested in working in the aged care sector and with the help of ParentsNext, started studying a Certificate III - in Individual Support (Aged Care), late in 2019. 

Due to COVID-19, Joreen was unable to complete the practical placement of the course because facilities had stopped taking placements. She was also unable to sit for her driver's licence, which she wanted to do to gain more independence as well as help her with getting to future job opportunities, as tests were put on hold.

Joreen and her ParentsNext consultant at Women's Health and Family Services decided to adjust her goals and focus on preparing to find employment when COVID-19 restrictions had eased. So Joreen received assistance to prepare a quality resume and cover letter.

Once COVID-19 restrictions eased, her ParentsNext consultant helped Joreen find an Aged Care facility to complete her practical placement. Joreen started a new role as a support worker in early 2021. Talking about her new role, Joreen said, "I know my residents are extremely grateful to have a place where they can keep their dignity and independence for as long as possible, and I think it is great".

Joreen has also obtained her Driver's Licence and is happy and grateful to have achieved her goals – in spite of the challenges and disruptions due to COVID-19.

"There is so much I love about my job.  I get to help people every single day".

Grace is on the runway to success - from personal tragedy to pursuing her passion to work in aviation

Grace is pursuing her goal of a career in aviation.

Grace is pursuing her goal of a career in aviation.

ParentsNext provider: National Joblink, TAS

Born and educated in Poland, Grace came to Australia in 2000 and worked at Kraft Foods. In 2002, she proudly became an Australian Citizen and was expecting her first child when she was involved in a serious accident and became unemployed.

After several years, Grace had expanded her family and moved interstate. To assist with her recovery, Grace started Taekwondo and won the 2019 gold and bronze medals in the State Championships.

Grace's ParentsNext provider, National Joblink, encouraged Grace to get involved in some family activities to help her meet new people and develop self-confidence. After some time and research, Grace identified her dream job was to become an Air Traffic Controller and National Joblink helped her get closer to her goal. Her first step was to become a Pilot. Grace had to save for a pilot's licence, but with the Government's COVID-19 Supplement, this has made achieving this goal earlier. Grace has started flying lessons and can already taxi the plane, take off and operate it in the air. 

In her spare time, Grace is an active volunteer firefighter with her local brigade and is gaining new skills and knowledge to apply to her dream role. This includes starting an online wellbeing course at the University of Tasmania.  

"My ParentsNext mentor goes beyond anything to make you feel welcome, give you hope and motivation and help in your efforts in finding a job and get you ready to find a job," she said. 

Grace wanted to share her story to inspire others to believe in themselves and know they too could achieve great outcomes.

Rebecca's story – finding a passion for supporting families

ParentsNext provider: UnitingSA, SA

Through her ParentsNext provider Uniting SA, Rebecca participated in the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY). HIPPY is a two-year, home-based, early learning and parenting program for families with young children. She also attended several Anglicare programs such as Coffee Links, kids club, cooking, health and fitness classes.

After having some dental work completed in March 2019, Rebecca's confidence was boosted. She told her ParentsNext consultant she was interested in study and employment options and wanted to gain new employability skills. 

With assistance from her provider, Rebecca completed certificates in First Aid and Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA). She also successfully completed an Introduction to Working with Children and Families, a 10-week course. 

In December 2019, Rebecca was offered an interview to be a HIPPY tutor, the program she had enjoyed doing with her own children. Her ParentsNext consultant assisted Rebecca with funding from the Participation Fund for new work clothing. After the interview, Rebecca was offered part-time work.

Rebecca is continuously learning and enjoying her role as a HIPPY tutor. Rebecca is enjoying working with families and using alternative ways of connecting via phone and video.

Kellie signs up for a career helping other Auslan users

ParentsNext provider: Uniting, VIC

Kellie, who is hearing-impaired, is determined to find stable employment and provide financial security for her young family. She also wants to be a good role model to her two hearing-impaired children. 

Kellie has a broad range of work experience – including catering, as a room attendant, barista and cleaner. She is adaptable and was willing to take on new opportunities however she needed a job that offered flexible working hours to accommodate her children's school drop-offs and pick-ups. 

Kellie and her ParentsNext consultant built a strong rapport and discussed a range of career pathways. Together they came up with the role of Support Worker with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). 

Kellie is an Auslan (sign language) user, so her ParentsNext consultant contacted Hire Up, an NDIS provider, to explore the idea of recruiting a person with Auslan. Hire Up's response was positive – they were interested in recruiting an Auslan user to help them communicate with hearing impaired clients. 

Kellie was well on her way to completing training to work in the NDIS. Her consultant also assisted Kellie to update her resume, helped Kellie complete the necessary workplace checks and supported her application for a role with Hire Up.

ParentsNext helped Nessrin to get closer to her goal of working in healthcare

ParentsNext provider: Wesley Mission, New South Wales

Nessrin has overcome several barriers to complete her studies and reach her goal of working in the healthcare sector. She has been supported all the way by her ParentsNext provider, Wesley Mission. 

Before participating in ParentsNext, Nessrin did not have any work history or education and felt her life lacked direction. After a few appointments with her provider, Nessrin was able to set some goals to study and work in the health care sector. 

“I came in as a mother of four with no goals or motivation. After spending time with Anna, my ParentsNext consultant, I knew she would be doing her very best to assist me to pursue my goals. Anna is the most amazing person, who I knew from the beginning, did not judge me and went out of her way to deliver her very best. She truly has the power to change lives.” 

Although it was a challenge juggling full-time study and raising four children, Nessrin completed a Certificate II in Further Studies and a Certificate III in Business Administration — Medical. She was supported all the way by her ParentsNext consultant, including getting a laptop for her studies using funds available to participants from the ParentsNext Participation Fund.

Nessrin’s children were very proud of their mum and loved seeing her study and attend class.

Andreia landed her dream job with support from ParentsNext

When Andreia joined ParentsNext in 2018, after five years of being a stay at home mum, she was looking for a way to support herself and her family independently.

Read Andreia’s story

Continued support for parents during COVID-19

Continued support for parents during COVID-19

Innovative service delivery is helping ParentsNext participants achieve their education goals and build their personal support networks even during shutdown.

During this difficult COVID-19 period, ParentsNext participants are continuing to achieve their goals by embracing new ways of learning. A key focus for the ParentsNext program is to support participants back into work once their youngest child turns six, through appointments and activities. ParentsNext also helps participants to build their support networks.

Eight of Mission Australia’s ParentsNext participants have been undertaking a Certificate II in Skills for Work and Vocational Pathways. The training was being delivered face-to-face one day per week. Due to the COVID-19 shutdown, the participants were unable to attend the sessions and were worried they wouldn’t be able to continue working towards their Certificate II.

Impressed by the group’s enthusiasm to continue their study, Mission Australia and the trainer quickly found an innovative way to deliver their services and support the participants through the training. They worked with each participant to ensure they could use online video conferencing software.

After two weeks, the group could easily use the technology and formed a special bond – even meeting with each other online outside of the course.

Staff at Mission Australia said that that while the shutdown presented some challenges that initially seemed insurmountable disruption.

“But by finding new ways of servicing, parents had a fantastic opportunity to continue their study and build their personal support networks,” Amber Leschke, Mission Australia, ParentsNext Area Manager QLD said.

“The participants have adapted to the new way of learning so well that they have suggested doing additional components of the training via online video conferencing, as it enables them to learn while still caring for their children.

“The proof is in these smiling faces!”