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CIT Return to Work for Women Graduates Ready for Anything

Published: 15 Jun 2015

Return to work women
Work ready - Friday's Return to Work for Women graduation ceremony

While a graduation is in many ways the end of a student's learning journey, a small but uplifting ceremony for the participants of CIT's Return to Work for Women program last week was really all about beginnings.

The program is about equipping women who have been out of the workforce for some time with the skills and confidence to transition from the home back into the workplace, creating new opportunities and possibilities for the participants.

Program coordinator Elizabeth Kehoe agrees signing up to the program is a brave decision for the women, who often lack confidence after being out of the workforce, despite the life skills and knowledge they have.

"The women who come into the program have all kinds of backgrounds and past experiences. Some have had very successful careers, but after a few years away from the workforce, it's common for women to feel their skills are outdated and they no longer have anything to offer the workplace," Ms Kehoe said.

"It is very inspiring to see these women who demonstrate great initiative, courage and determination succeed and develop into confident, work-ready individuals."

Student speakers at the ceremony Sangeetha Ashok and Jeanette Olivares Valdivia said the program had opened up new opportunities for the participants.

"What we do now will certainly be different to our lives previously," Ms Ashtok said.

"We have become firm friends with an incredible support network and common goal - employment. We are confident we have grown and can contribute meaningfully to our society," Ms Olivares Valdivia said.

After five years, the Return to Work for Women program is tried and tested, but Ms Kehoe says she is always looking to improve the experience and opportunities for the participants.

"Currently, over 80% of graduates of the program go on to work or further study, which is wonderful, and we are continuing to strengthen our links with industry, government and the community through our work experience component to increase opportunities for the women," Ms Kehoe said.

The course is designed to maximise the opportunity for participation by women with family or carer responsibilities. It is conducted during school hours, and there is lots of extra support, such as careers advice, available along the way.

As the graduation ceremony concluded, the close knit group was warmly encouraged to "pop back, see us and tell us what you're up to".

The Return to Work for Women program runs for 14 weeks with graduates obtaining a Certificate II in Skills for Work and Vocational Pathways. The next course starts in August. For enquiries, please contact CIT Student Services on (02) 6207 3188 or email infoline@cit.edu.au.