COTA Victoria’s Working Together program is helping women aged 50+ back into the workforce with the help of mentors. Mentees come from a range of backgrounds, but they’re all aged 50+ and face barriers to re-entering the workforce, such as caring responsibilities, disability, long-term health conditions or lack of recognition for qualifications gained overseas.
This month, our second group of mentees met with their mentor group for the first time. Mentors will support the mentees over the next six months as they look for work, helping them build confidence, tap into community resources, and learn more about communication and how to present themselves to employers. Mentees were matched to their individual mentees through a ‘speed dating’ format that enabled mentees and mentors to get to know each other and build connections.
This came after four weeks of intensive work readiness training for the mentees. Mentees set goals and identified their strengths – an exercise that gave them the focus and direction to plan their workforce re-entry and prepare new resumes. The group explored education and employment pathways, with Kangan Institute and Melbourne Polytechnic presentations on pathways and opportunities in the healthcare and community services sectors. A previous Reach, Train and Employ participant, Christine Brooking, spoke passionately about changing careers in her fifties and the joy she has found in her new role as an individual support worker.
We’re now searching for our third group of mentors and mentees, who will begin training in mid-August. Register your interest on the COTA Victoria website if you’re interested in getting involved as either a mentor or a mentee.