In September 2022, Maryellen Larsen will graduate from the ParentsNext Program with VERTO. She’ll not only walk away with job-ready skills and renewed confidence but also a new career path in medical administration.

In 2020, Ms Larsen commenced ParentsNext, an Australian Government initiative that supports parents with children under six to build the skills and confidence to return to the workforce. She had recently moved from Taree to Bathurst with her young daughter and was looking for a new career path.

Ms Larsen’s last employment was in 2018 in the aged care sector, but the field no longer suited her life circumstances.

“I wanted to find something that wasn’t as physically and emotionally demanding. I had worked in aged care in Bathurst before, and I could have gone back to my old job, but the hours were not family-friendly, and, as a single mum, I needed to be there for my daughter,” she said.

With the support of VERTO ParentsNext Mentor Antoinette Burrell, Ms Larsen quickly identified that a return to administration would suit her goals and life circumstances. She already had some of the skills from previous roles in the industry but was keen to update them.

VERTO secured a fully funded place for Ms Larsen in an administration course and worked with her to increase her job readiness. Ms Larsen says this was critical as she had lost confidence. She had attended several interviews but did not receive a callback and recalls this as a blow to her usually positive attitude.

“It was hard to keep getting knocked back when I was desperate to return to work. It was also hard not to take it personally, and I was losing my positivity,” Ms Larsen said.

VERTO’s Antoinette Burrell says lack of confidence is not uncommon when returning to the workforce after a break. 

“If you have been out of the workforce for some time, as many parents have, it can be hard to find your way back in. We helped Maryellen with all the elements that help someone secure and thrive in a new role,” she said.

“This included support to update her resume, write an application, put her best foot forward in an interview and build her self-confidence. We also helped Maryellen explore wage subsidies that could help her with rising living costs to take some of the pressure off.”

Ms Larsen said VERTO was a fantastic source of support as she navigated her employment journey.

“VERTO was fantastic. Antoinette actually listened to me. I felt she understood where I was at and where I wanted to go. She helped me get my positive attitude back and find a job that worked for me,” she said.

In September 2021, Ms Larsen secured a role as Medical Receptionist at a small general doctor’s practice in Wallerawang, Dr S. Kamalaharan and Associates Surgery.

“It’s great to be putting my training into practice and also have some financial security,” Ms Larsen said.

“I was raised to do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay, and I am so happy to be earning an income again.

“I’m also learning new skills all the time, and it’s provided an outlet away from home, which is great as a single mum,” Ms Larsen said.

VERTO CEO, Ron Maxwell, said Ms Larsen’s story is an inspiration to all job seekers looking to return to work after a career break.

“The skill development, encouragement and moral support she received throughout the program and her tenacity have given Maryellen the foundations to achieve her goals.

“We wish Maryellen all the very best as she graduates from the ParentsNext program this month,” Mr Maxwell said.