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Karen Trutwein - Return to Work

When my young daughter started school, returning to work wasn't an option for me. But when it came time for me to do it, I didn't really know where to begin.

Karen Trutwein
Karen Trutwein, Return to Work

After all my time off, I saw myself as having a very narrow skill set.

Soon after that, I saw a post on Facebook from an acquaintance who had just finished the CIT Learning Options for Women course, and she was very positive about the experience. I was particularly encouraged because this lady had been out of the workforce for 14 years and is now employed part time. I felt the time was right for me, and decided to give the course a go.

The process of applying and enrolling at CIT was very straightforward, and there was lots of support from very caring and friendly CIT staff. The teachers really went that extra mile to get to know students so the best options were presented to us.

The work experience placement was an unforgettable part of the course. My teacher took the time and interest to match me to a position where I could combine, my previous professional experience with my skills gained in volunteer positions so that I could update my skills in a related area of interest.

I had a publishing/ book editing background, so my policy/research work experience position at the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs was an ideal job match.

In the Learning Options for Women course, the wide range of valuable responsibilities that I had taken on during my time off were also recognised. I had a number of skills like time management and organisation, the ability to communicate with a very broad audience and a wide work experience base in the community sector, but I didn’t think these skills were recognised because they were undertaken on a volunteer basis.

I don't yet feel ready for work, but the experience has given me an enormous amount of confidence. Developing a network of friends from very diverse backgrounds was interesting and fun, and being able to celebrate their different strengths and finding my own strengths to support others was very uplifting.