Step Into Work

Step Into Work is a program specially designed for women who want to find meaningful paid work – whether you are seeking employment for the first time, or wish to return to the workforce.

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Our Vision

We recognise it can be extremely challenging for women to enter or return to the workforce, especially after a prolonged time out of paid employment. The job search process is constantly changing, with the impact of technology, and it can be hard to know where to begin, and to have the confidence to take that first step. Step into Work (SIW) is a program based in Sydney, Australia, focused on assisting women develop a plan and make a start.

Our long-term aim is for participants in our programs to obtain meaningful paid employment and to successfully balance their work and parenting responsibilities.

Short-term, the aim is for participants to gain an understanding, confidence, capacity and skills to search for an appropriate job, as well as engage in activities such as training, volunteering or personal development on the path to employment.

The program helps participants identify and bridge the practical and psychological barriers to obtaining paid work such as childcare, social isolation, communication skills, and stress management, as well as providing specific job search skills and targeted knowledge.

Who We Are

The Step into Work program was developed in 2011 by Anita Belgiorno-Nettis and Helen Tribe in conjunction with the Benevolent Society, led by Keith Bryant and Tracey Fay-Stammbach.
The course was designed by Victoria O’Neil, and in 2018 we became an independent incorporated association.

The program is delivered by professional women, providing up-to-date guidance and coaching with empathy and cultural sensitivity.

What is the Step into Work program?

Step into Work (SIW) prepares women to develop the confidence and skills to find meaningful employment. The program runs over 5 consecutive weekly sessions of 2.5 hours during school terms, delivered in partnership with schools and community organisations that coordinate the registration process and provide the venue.

The program is suited to under-employed or unemployed women. SIW was designed particularly for mothers of young children, who may also be facing other social difficulties ranging from migration, financial, family, or parenting stress.

Our classes are free of charge.

SIW includes step-by-step coaching to make realistic career plans, identify and manage stress, overcome barriers and set goals. Groups range in size from 6 to 12 women with tailored support that accommodates each participant’s capabilities and circumstances.

The program covers practical areas including:

  • Matching values, skills and interests to types of work.
  • Training and educational options through TAFE.
  • Developing a personal Step into Work plan.
  • Searching and applying for jobs, including using the internet.
  • Preparing resumes and cover letters/emails.
  • Job search communication and interview preparation and skills.

Importantly, the program also focuses on building up the life skills and confidence that women need when entering or returning to paid employment:

  • Managing family and work life balance.
  • Relaxation and stress management.
  • Developing personal networks and using them effectively.

Sessions include group discussion and role-play.

Each session participants are provided with their own workbook and notes and, upon completion of the course, they receive a certificate.

Hear from some of our past participants

Partner With Us

Over the last few years, the program has been delivered at several sites around Sydney, at schools and organisations such as Integricare, CatholicCare and Schools as Community Centres including:
• Dalwood Spilstead Service, Seaforth
• Punchbowl Public School, Punchbowl
• Integricare Early Learning Centre, Rockdale
• Belmore Boys High School, Belmore
• Wiley Park Public School, Wiley Park
• Lakemba Public School, Lakemba
• CatholicCare Naremburn Family Centre, Naremburn

These organisations partner with SIW by hosting our program, referring participants, managing bookings, coordinating childcare and providing course venues.
The program is run during school terms over 5 consecutive weeks, in 2.5 hour sessions.
In recognition of the positive impact on the lives of participants, SIW courses have been running at some locations for several years, with many women securing employment, commencing training or volunteering as first steps in their return-to-work plan.
‘the outcomes have been consistently positive, with some 50% of participants engaged in either paid or voluntary work within 12 months of completing the program.’

Partner organisations often find that programs are run most successfully when offered alongside other opportunities for development of parents and families. Members of the SIW team would be delighted to discuss the practical aspects of hosting programs, as well as provide information to P&C meetings.