Child care venture opens doors for job seekers

Two large Brotherhood programs have begun a new partnership which not only gives qualified childcare workers valuable work experience, but offers onsite childminding for women attending the Stepping Stones training program.

Given the Chance, Jobs Victoria Network (JVEN) has had a longstanding collaboration with Stepping Stones, but this new opportunity came about when the expanded Stepping Stones program needed to extend its child minding services in multiple new locations.  

Stepping Stones supports refugee and migrant women to start up micro businesses and this year has expanded its reach to sites in Wyndham, Braybrook, Dandenong and Ballarat. Onsite childcare has been an essential component of the program allowing women with young children to attend the training once a week over several months.

Gabrielle Hughes, Manager, Given the Chance JVEN Flemington says the child care workers on her program were very keen to get paid work experience in a related area.

“We are able to provide qualified staff for six-hour shifts to meet the need of the Stepping Stones women and it is working well with everyone benefiting.  Some women have never left their children with anyone else before, and it’s a great comfort to them to have their children nearby. They have a lot of trust in the service we provide.

Some of the childcare workers also speak Arabic and so the children can talk in their first language with the women caring for them.

Child care worker Zahra has been with the JVEN since November and says the work has boosted her confidence. “It is a good opportunity for me to work in here as I want to build on my career in childcare,” she says.

Rabina who has her own school aged children jumped at the chance to work with Stepping Stones service because she can work shorter hours and pick up her children from school, something many other jobs don’t allow.

Angie Basdekis, Stepping Stones program officer said the childminding collaboration between Given the Chance and Stepping Stones, was a ‘fantastic example of how a co-operative approach between programs can improve participant outcomes’.

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