When mother of six, Latisha Williamson from Bathurst, signed up to ParentsNext in 2021 she saw it as an opportunity to get her driver’s license, undertake formal training and gain some job-ready skills.
“I think I’d been so focused on raising my children, I’d forgotten about me, and had very little employment history. Signing up to ParentsNext was a push in the right direction to prioritise my skills and training,” Ms Williamson said.
ParentsNext is an Australian Government initiative that helps parents with children under six to build the skills and confidence to return to the workforce.
With support from not-for-profit employment, training and apprenticeships provider, VERTO, Latisha received nine fully subsidised driving lessons and later obtained her provisional P1 license (red Ps).
“Getting my Ps has changed my life, but I needed support to get there and VERTO was cheering me on and keeping me accountable every step of the way,” she said.
“Having a driver’s licence is more than just a convenience, it has given me greater independence. I can get the kids to school, attend appointments, and when the time comes, I’ll be able to drive myself to job interviews and workplaces.”
As well as obtaining her driver’s license, Latisha also identified that training in Individual Support would suit her life circumstances.
“My father-in-law sadly passed away while we were in COVID-19 lockdown and it made me realise how precious that final stage of life can be. Looking after elderly family members has inspired me to do my Certificate III in Individual Support and I’m looking forward to finishing the course this year,” she said.
VERTO ParentsNext mentor, Antoinette Burrell, said it was inspiring to watch Latisha’s growth and transformation over the past 18 months.
“Latisha actually qualified for a large family exemption but chose to commence ParentsNext, which is testament to her can-do attitude and her determination to create a bright future for her family,” Ms Burrell said.
VERTO CEO, Ron Maxwell, said Latisha’s story should inspire other mothers to get the support they need for finding employment.
“Entering or re-entering the workforce as a parent of young children can be very challenging and daunting, but with support from the VERTO ParentsNext team, it actually doesn’t need to be,” he said.
“Skill development, encouragement and moral support are all crucial elements to returning to work, and our ParentsNext team work hard to give clients like Latisha the foundations needed to achieve their goals.
“If you’re in a similar position, or just a little unsure on your next steps after becoming a parent, I encourage you to reach out to VERTO – we pride ourselves on helping individuals with all their training, education and employment needs.”
For more information about ParentsNext and how VERTO can help, visit: https://www.verto.org.au/our-services/parentsnext
VERTO is a community owned, not-for-profit organisation delivering a range of apprenticeship, community support, employment and training services to assist individuals, employers and industries. We can be found in over 60 locations across the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Victoria. For more information, visit verto.org.au.