In 2021, Rebecca Shakespeare 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 was living in Lithgow with her young daughter and was looking for a new career path.
Ms Shakespeare’s last employment was in 2016 in the retail sector, but the field no longer suited her life circumstances.
“I had worked in supermarkets, and I could have gone back to that, but the hours were not family-friendly, and, as a mum, I needed to be there for my daughter,” she said.
With the support of VERTO ParentsNext Mentor Antoinette Burrell, Ms Shakespeare quickly identified that training in business/administration would suit her life circumstances. She already had some of the skills from previous roles but was keen to update them.
“VERTO signed me up to a customer service course which I’ve completed and now I’m doing a Certificate III in Business.
“Long term, I’d love to have a career working with animals, but the business course is versatile, and I can study from home which is a bonus.
“I enjoy studying – it gives me a sense of achievement which is helping increase my confidence,” Ms Shakespeare said.
VERTO’s Antoinette Burrell said lack of confidence was not uncommon for many people 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 difficult to find your way back in. Doing a short course or studying is a great stepping stone and equips our clients with new skills before they head back to the workforce,” she said.
“In addition, VERTO is helping Rebecca with all the elements that assist someone secure and thrive in a new role.
“This includes updating her resume, writing applications, and mentoring and advice on how to put her best foot forward in an interview and build her self-confidence.”
Ms Shakespeare said VERTO was a fantastic source of support.
“I enjoy working with VERTO. Antoinette listens to me and is genuinely interested in seeing me succeed,” she said.
“My daughter started school this year which is an exciting milestone. It also means I will have time to find a fulfilling job to support my family. That now feels achievable after receiving support and training through ParentsNext.”
VERTO CEO Ron Maxwell, said Ms Shakespeare’s story was a great example to other mothers who are looking to return to work after a career break.
“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 Rebecca 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, click here: https://www.verto.org.au/our-services/parentsnext