A partnership between Homelessness NSW,
Domestic Violence NSW and Yfoundations

Program - ACCESS at the Women's and Girl's Emergency Centre

Excellence in Ending Homelessness - Diverse Groups Nominee

Program - ACCESS at the Women's and Girl's Emergency Centre

Please give your reasons for nominating this program.

ACCESS is a new program provided by WAGEC that supports pathways out of homelessness by creating opportunities for education, training and employment for women who lives have been impacted by homelessness and/or domestic violence. The program is unique in that it addresses all barriers to women that would generally prevent them from accessing opportunities for further education and entering employment in an Australian context, such as, providing onsite child care, child care costs, receiving full paid scholarship and mentoring to support the women through their studies.
Access aims at providing pathways through:
• Building financial capacity and confidence of women to re-enter formal training and education and/or paid employment.
• Partnership with TAFE Outreach: Women Learning Together Course to help identify practical steps to achieve personal and career goals.
• Partnership with The Social Outfit: a not-for-profit social enterprise providing training, skills-development and employment for people from new migrant and refugee backgrounds
• Partnership with Rotary Club Darling Harbour: providing full scholarships for women to further education opportunities.

The key objectives of the ACCESS program are:
• Work readiness
• Provide mentoring opportunities
• Provide employment opportunities
• Capacity building, increasing women’s agency and self-confidence, developing social skills and providing an understanding to the Australian work environment.

Through our ACCESS program and supportive case management environment, WAGEC have worked with women from diverse backgrounds and histories of trauma to provide a sense of community, building a sense of belonging, instilling a sense of hope and noticeably creating positive outcomes by building blocks to financial independence. The ACCESS program allows women to learn, contribute and share. In the ACCESS programs first year of existence we have provided this support to 16 women. The ACCESS program has been innovative in creating a sustainable pathway from the point of entry into study, to then creating opportunities for further education and employment, that would otherwise be unattainable at this stage in their lives or create financial hardships (debt).

What outcomes were delivered as a result of this program?

- 10 completed the TAFE Outreach program and 6 completed the Social Outfit program.
- Two women have been given scholarships through the ACCESS programs partnership with Rotary to be able to attend further education opportunities through TAFE and childcare – one is enrolled in a Diploma of Community Welfare Work and Diploma in Software Development. The scholarship is $8000 total.
- Majority of the women showed interest in further education, such as, Certificate 3 in Child Studies, Certificate 3 in Business Administration, Certificate 3 in Nursing and attended information sessions for TAFE studies. One of the women from first semester went straight into a Certificate 3 in Aged Care and is currently seeking employment.
- The Social Outfit program resulted in the women having a marketplace where they sold product they had made which they received 100% of the profits, the total sales of the marketplace were just over $2000.
- Two of the women received employment offers for The Social Outfit and many of them still continue to access in their own time, to continue to build on the skills they learnt.
- One woman described her experience with this program when she stated “I feel very glad to be a part of the program.  I have learnt many new things, which makes me feel proud and confident”.
- This partnership has led to an outreach program called “Fashion Pathways” with TAFE that will begin in March, that will see 6 – 8 more women from the WAGEC ACCESS program trained. 
- The TAFE outreach program continues into 2018.