ACT Women’s Return to Work Grants Program
These guidelines are designed to explain:
- The aims and objectives of the ACT Government’s Women’s Return to Work Grants Program
- Who is eligible to participate in the Program
- What the Program offers to eligible women
- How to apply for the Program
- Options for women who are not eligible for the Program
General Information about the Program
All program information can be found on the Women ACT website at www.women.act.gov.au. Please remember to check the website regularly for any changes to ensure that your copy of these guidelines is kept up-to-date.
If you do not have access to the Internet and have any questions regarding the Program that are not covered in this document, please contact the Women’s Return to Work Grants Program Coordinator on 6205 2885.
What is the Women’s Return to Work Grants Program?
The Return to Work Grants provide $1000 in funding to individual women on low incomes who have been out of the workforce for more than 12 months due to caring responsibilities at some point in their lives.
This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, women with disabilities, younger women and older women requiring assistance in returning to paid work.
The Program provides funding for thing such as attending short courses, paying for child care to attend interviews as well as more formal training or education. It may also provide support for the purchase of equipment or clothing directly related to the woman’s return to work.
What kind of training can I do?
The $1,000 grant is to be used for training and job readiness skills which improves your prospects of successfully gaining paid work.
Training under the Program must be in courses that:
- increase work-related skills;
- improve future job prospects; and
- prepare you for re-entry to the workforce.
Such courses must be:
- industry specific or non-specific
- module/s of an accredited course.
Other professional costs may be:
- professional licensing or registration
- work with vulnerable people checks or police checks
You must develop a Return to Work Plan
A Return to Work Plan is designed to be completed by you with assistance from the Grant Coordinator at interview. This interview can take place face to face, by phone or by other means. The Coordinator will assist you to determine the best training for you to undertake based on your skills, interests, life goals and values to achieve your desired employment goal. On your Return to Work Plan you will allocate your expenditure items and costs, which will then be listed on your Letter of Offer and Agreement.
What costs can the grants cover?
Participants can use the grant to cover the costs of the following:
- accredited training;
- training related costs such as child care with a registered child care provider while undertaking the training;
- support materials required for the course such as purchase of text books;
- part payment of Commonwealth Supported Student Contribution Scheme (HECS - HELP) fees for any new university course of study undertaken; or
- other items which the CSD may approve if related to returning to work, such as clothing
- transport, internet, computers
- career coaching;
- personal business development strategies; and/or
- child care costs – please note you are responsible for arranging your own child care which must be with a registered child care provider.
Who is eligible?
To be eligible for a $1,000 grant under this Program, an individual must meet the following criteria:
- low income (based on Centrelink means testing);
- have been out of the workforce due to caring responsibilities for 12 months or more at any time in their life;
- not worked for more than four months (full-time or part-time equivalent) during the past 12 months;
- not currently employed;
- not currently on maternity, or paid/unpaid leave;
- plan to return to paid work within the next 12 months;
- has been a resident of the ACT for more than three months; (note: residency requirements may be waived if applicant has relocated to escape domestic violence)
- is not receiving financial support for all training and related costs through a Jobs Services Australia provider or through ACT Government assistance such as Canberra Institute of Technology scholarships while participating in this Program; and/or
- not previously received the ACT Women’s Return to Work Grant.
The Program has an employment focus. Training approved through the Program will therefore be in courses that increase work-related skills, improve job prospects or personal business.
The grant may be used only on items and activities specified on your Return to Work Plan. If you need to change how the funds are to be spent after receiving the Letter of Offer and Agreement, you will need to obtain a written approval for a Letter of Variation through the Grants Coordinator.
You are required to complete a Financial Acquittal form within 6 months of receipt of the grant. If you do not provide this you may be required to repay the grant.
How do I apply?
You can access an application form on the Women ACT website www.women.act.gov.au, which can be emailed back to email@example.com, or mailed. Alternatively you may request an application form by contacting the Grant Coordinator. All contact details are at the end of these guidelines.
Once you have submitted your application your eligibility will be assessed. If you are eligible the following will occur:
- You will receive confirmation that you are eligible via a phone call and an interview time will be made to develop your Return to Work Plan; and
- You will also be required to provide all your supporting evidence documents.
If you are not eligible, you will be advised by mail.
After interview, if you are approved, you will receive a Return to Work Package including your Letter of Offer, financial paperwork, acquittal information and survey.
You can then proceed with your work plan.
How many times can I apply for the Program?
You can only apply for one grant through the Women’s Return to Work Grant Program.
How long is the Grants approval valid for?
From the date you receive your payment, you have a six months to spend your funding, unless the training/course undertaken is longer and you have discussed this with the grant Coordinator.
You pay training fees directly
Providing the Program guidelines are met, the ACT Government will provide a grant of $1,000 for training and associated costs directly to you. It is your responsibility to make the agreed payments according to your Return to Work Plan.
What if I have left over funds?
If items in your Return to Work plan do not cost as much as projected, then you must contact the Grants Coordinator to discuss best use of funds in line with your return to work goals.
What is an Acquittal?
An Acquittal is providing receipts to verify expenditure for items agreed to in your Letter of Offer.
You have six months to collect receipts and return the paperwork as provided in your Return to Work package.
It is your responsibility to date the receipt of your Return to Work payment into your account and monitor your due date for acquittal (six months after Letter of Offer).
Please note that all receipts must be from a credible source and have an ABN number.
Can I use the Grant for more than one course?
Yes. The grant may be used for more than one training course, provided that:
- there is a sufficient balance remaining in the recipient’s grant to cover the cost of that training; and the training is to commence within six months of the date shown on the letter of offer for the grant.
Are there any other options available for me if I am not eligible?
The Return to Work Program conducts regular Career Sessions for women who would like to re-enter the workforce, but are uncertain of their career direction. You do not have to be a recipient of the Grant to attend a Career session.
Information about Career Sessions are available at www.women.gov.au
Other Scholarships/financial help
The Return to Work Program Coordinator is able to assist women who are not eligible for the Program with information and referral to other programs that can support them to enter or re-enter the workforce including;
- ACT Government Fee Assistance. Available to CIT students experiencing financial difficulties to assist with fees and course materials. Visit www.cit.edu.au or call 6207 3100.
- CIT Indigenous Scholarships. Available to Indigenous students through CIT’s Yurauna centre. Contact 6207 3309.
- Fee-Help and Hecs-Help. A loan scheme that assists eligible fee paying students to repay fees for degree courses. The loan is repaid through the Australian Tax Office once the designated income threshold is reached. Vet-help is another Australian Government assistance program for people studying in Vocational Education and Training for diploma courses. Visit www.goingtouni.gov.au
- Centrelink Education Payments. Extra financial support to Centrelink recipients on particular types of payments including Parenting, Carer and Disability Pensions who are studying. Visit www.centrelink.gov.au and click on ‘studying and training’.
- YWCA Great Ydeas Small Grants Program. The grants provide financial assistance to women in Canberra and the surrounding regions to help them develop their skills and enhance their contribution to themselves, their families and their community. Offered at the beginning of each year. Phone YWCA Canberra on 6175 9900 for more information.
- Pinnacle Foundation Scholarships. Available for people aged 16 - 24 who wish to undertake full or part-time study and can show leadership potential within the LGBTIQ community. Phone (02) 9990 4708 for more information.
- Country Education Foundation of Australia grants. For young people up to 22 years of age from rural areas wishing to study at specified institutions (including the CIT). Assists with text books, moving costs and other study-related expenses. Visit www.cef.org.au
ACT Women’s Return to Work Grants Application forms and more information can be found on the website www.women.act.gov.au or by contacting the Return to Work Grant GPO Box 158, Canberra ACT 2601.
The actual address of the office is Level 2, 180 London Circuit, Civic. Phone: 6205 2885, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.