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New Program Receives Grant to Help Women With Disability Find Work

4 December 2017 at 8:38 am
Luke Michael
Grant funding has been awarded to a new project assisting women living with disability to gain employment, through mentorships and the use of professional networks.

Luke Michael | 4 December 2017 at 8:38 am


New Program Receives Grant to Help Women With Disability Find Work
4 December 2017 at 8:38 am

Grant funding has been awarded to a new project assisting women living with disability to gain employment, through mentorships and the use of professional networks.

Julia Farr MS McLeod (JFM) Benevolent Fund announced Friday it was awarding a grant to YWCA Adelaide’s Y Connect program.

The project looks to empower women living with disability through employment or career development.

It involves a 10 week mentoring and workshop program, to build women’s knowledge and use of their personal strengths, while developing confidence and setting goals.                                               

Y Connect also aims to expand the networks of participants, and provide opportunities for personal and professional development.

Liz Forsyth, the CEO of YWCA Adelaide, said the program would offer options for women to progress their leadership development and further engage with YWCA.

“This project is tailored to support women living with disabilities build their capacity for work and a career, whilst helping us better meet their needs in engaging in a women’s organisation”, Forsyth said.

JFM CEO, Robbi Williams, told Pro Bono News that JFM was a trust fund that looked to invest in initiatives that gave people with disability a fair go, which made YWCA Adelaide a worthy grant recipient.  

“One of the issues for many people living with disability is unemployment, so despite people having many strengths and gifts, they are overly represented in the ranks of unemployment,” Williams said.

“So we put out a call through our trust fund for ideas about ways to increase the chances that people with disability can move into mainstream, waged employment. YWCA got in touch with us about an idea, looking at mentoring between their members and women living with disability looking for work, to build their confidence and capacity.

“We thought it was a good idea, but could be something a little bit more than that. Mentoring is important but we’re also aware that members of the YWCA would also have their personal and professional networks, and this is a great opportunity for those members to use their networks to help those with disability to find work.”

He said the program would really focus on using these networks to propel women with disability into employment.

“It’s anchored initially on a mentoring relationship, between a YWCA member and a woman with disability looking for work,” Williams said.

“The mentor will explore ways to assist the person, looking for ways to help them improve their chances of finding employment. But over and above that, the mentor can also call on their own networks to find some openings to suit the person.”

Williams added that it was important this program not only built the confidence of women with disability, but also allowed them to utilise networks to put their skills to good use in the workforce.  

“We’re interested in trying to evaluate our investment. So there’s a couple of things we’ll be looking for. Firstly, as a result of this project, has the mentoring relationship helped the women with disability build their confidence and more easily identify their strengths and gifts they can bring to an employer?,” he said.

“But we’re also looking to measure just what happens when YWCA members use their own networks. So we can also see women with disability moving into waged employment.

“We’re crossing our fingers, because there’s a lot of skilled people out there living with disability and they just need someone backing them.”    

Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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