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CTA turning passion into purpose

By Fiona West | July 15, 2022

Valerie Solman worked in hospitality all her life, including owning three successful businesses. But after taking time off to care for her husband and father-in-law, she found it impossible to re-enter the industry. Despite 30 years’ experience, good health and a strong work ethic, she said no one wanted to employ a 63 year old.

But participating in the Career Transition Assistance (CTA) program at Navitas Skilled Futures turned her luck, and her life, around. The Western Sydney resident is now a full-time homecare worker, using her life skills in a job she is not only good at, but she loves.

“After 14 years of caring for my husband, who had multiple sclerosis, and my father-in-law, with dementia, I tried to find a job – but I was looking in the wrong place,” said Valerie, of Constitution Hill.

“Doing this course helped me to decide the path I really wanted to take, which was in aged care, where I had the life experience and the passion. The trainer was wonderful … and gave me the direction, the job-seeking skills and the confidence I needed to pursue it.

“I got my qualifications and once my new resume went up (on LinkedIn) I had the companies calling me for interviews. I’m still getting calls today!”

The CTA program is a free eight-week course supporting unemployed people, aged over 45, to build on existing experience, skills and digital literacy to get back into employment. Navitas Skilled Futures has been running CTA programs for the past three years in Sydney East Metro, Sydney North and West, Greater Western Sydney and the Capital regions, and will now be extending the program into parts of South Australia (Murray and South East).

The move comes into effect on July 4, as Navitas Skilled Futures also launches its first Employability Skills Training (EST) programs, in Greater Western Sydney, Illawarra, Brisbane South East and North West County South Australia. EST delivers pre-employment, employability skills and industry-focused training to jobseekers, plus work experience placement.

Both programs are part of the new employment service, Workforce Australia, which will be delivered by the new Department of Employment and Workforce Relations (previously Department of Education, Skills and Employment), which will implement and administer the Government’s workplace relations, jobs, skills and training agenda.

Navitas Skilled Futures General Manager, Jetinder Macfarlane, said it was an exciting expansion for the business, which has helped transform the lives of more than 300,000 people in the past 30 years through a range of government programs, focusing on positive outcomes for settlement, education and employment needs.

“With a proven reputation of caring for every client, we listen to communities, employment providers, employers and industry, and have been trusted to deliver outcomes that benefit both individuals and society,” Jetinder said.

“We look forward to continuing to collaborate with government, service providers and communities, while bringing our dedicated teams and our innovative practices to new regions to assist jobseekers, and support the industries and communities which will benefit from their new and improved skills.

“We feel privileged to be able to help empower people to live their best lives through genuine job prospects, social integration and cohesion.”

CTA and EST Coordinator, Kylie Fulton (pictured below), said she was thrilled to see the impact the Navitas Skilled Futures course had on participants like Valerie. “I get emails and phone calls from people telling me when they get a job. It’s the best news,” she said.

“I had one participant recently who, when he first came in, was not getting any responses whatsoever and he was very ‘back up against the wall’. By the time he finished the course, he actually had three job offers and didn’t know which one to choose. What more could you ask for?

“When Valerie came in she had been looking for jobs in hospitality. She said, ‘That’s my history; that’s all I know’. I said to her, ‘What’s your passion? What do you love to do?’ And that’s when she told me about her husband and her father-in-law. And you could just see it when she was talking about aged care, the knowledge and the passion she had. And that’s what we draw on. We draw on peoples’ passion. And that is what is working for them.”

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