• Christian Penny

Grants for NSW women returning to work

Updated: Jun 10

Full details will be announced on June 21.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the world with little warning, impacting women’s employment substantially more than men’s across the world. Of the 244,000 workers in NSW who lost employment women held 61% of the total jobs lost between May and September 2021 (Hill & Cooper, 2021)


In response and as part of the upcoming budget, the NSW Government have announced a new grants initiative aimed at women looking for work. Women looking for work will be able to apply for grants of up to $5,000 to fund a new work wardrobe, technology, and training to help them return to the workforce.


Premier Dominic Perrottet is encouraging eligible women to apply for the Return-to-Work Program grant thanks to a $32 million investment in the 2022-23 NSW Budget.


“The program is already helping thousands of women to meet their employment and education goals - I want this program to support as many women as possible to find secure employment,” Mr Perrottet said.


“This is an opportunity to build the confidence and financial independence for women who need it most.”


Treasurer Matt Kean said women who are experiencing barriers re-entering the workforce can apply for grants of up to $5,000 to help cover the cost of common financial obstacles such as work clothes or an internet connection.


“Female-dominated industries and workers were hit hard by the pandemic and it highlighted the importance of women to the long-term health of our economy,” Mr Kean said.


“Now, more than ever, we need to support women to get into, and return to, the workforce. This program helps equip women with the information, technology, and financial support they need to get back to work.”

Women already have access to services including Dress for Success in Marrickville, Newcastle and the Illawarra, providing clothing, styling and presentation skills to women wanting to return to the workforce, free of charge. TAFE NSW is also supporting women through foundational skill programs required by employers and industry to meet current and future skills needs.


Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor says the results are positive and demonstrate the programs value and future investment.


“The feedback from over 1,500 women who have completed the program was that it works because of its flexibility and tailored approach. 65 percent of women secured employment, 73 per cent applied for or started education and training while an incredible 98.5 per cent found the program helpful,” Mrs Taylor said.


“I am proud to be part of a NSW Government that looks at unique solutions for the big issues affecting women’s workforce participation through the Women’s Economic Opportunities Review.”


Applications will open from 1 July to women who have been unemployed for at least a month and looking to start work within six months.


The program has received investment after initially being announced as part of the 2020-21 budget. It continues with consideration provided for priority groups.


Full details will be announced on June 21 at the state budget.


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