by Amanda Carlile.

This year has further strengthened long-established partnerships and developed several new and exciting ones. Partnerships which have enabled us to provide more services, build vital organisational capacity and pilot new projects Australia-wide.

In May this year, we took part in the Benefit Cosmetics ‘Bold is Beautiful Campaign’ where 100% of Benefit profits from Brow Wax Services at Myer go to charities empowering women and girls. The campaign helped raise $200k for the 3 charities involved. Plus, all our brows looked totally on point.

Now in its 4thyear, our relationship with ISPT is one of the longest and strongest corporate partnerships in Fitted for Work history. In addition to funding essential infrastructure, this year ISPT provided over 70 hours of free venue space at their Collaboratory ‘Foys Arcade’ in Melbourne CBD. As a result, we have hosted Strategy Development sessions, fundraising events, client workshops, volunteer celebrations and team building days. We love the space which is innovative and stylish and the team at Foys, Erin, Jennifer and Lucas, are so very generous with their time.

Clayton Utz continues to support and fund our Women Exiting Prison Program and mentor training, and we celebrated the 5-year partnership at their recent Charity Cocktail Event. Next year we look forward to working with Clayton Utz volunteers in Tarrengower Prison to support women 6-months prior to release. This is an essential program in Victoria, as incarceration numbers rise for women under 25 years of age, and because we know that employment significantly reduces recidivism rates for young people.

Our partnership with Bank of America Merrill Lynch of 4 years continues to go from strength to strength. This year, their funding has helped us deliver over 2,500 core services to women in Victoria and NSW, and next year we hope to deepen relationships with their LGBT Plus team to support a new Transgender and Gender Diverse pilot program for Transwomen clients.

James and his team at Smaart Recruitment are dedicated and passionate when it comes to helping women find work, and this year they ramped up activity by delivering fortnightly Job Preparation workshops. The team at Smaart use their experience and expertise to help women build confidence and practise all things interview related. We have had a great year working closely with the team and clients love the sessions.

Developing a digital strategy for the organisation has been a high priority this year, and we have found the perfect pro bono development partner in DXC. Their generosity has been astounding, spending over 30 hours interviewing clients, volunteers and staff to make sure we design a plan that will grow as we do. Fiona, Peter, Abby and Vanessa are our ‘squad’, and we are learning so much from them. We can’t wait to see what 2019 brings in this exciting collaboration.

As always, our community connections form the fabric of our organisation, and we have developed two key referral partnerships this year.

Justice Connect has brought together organisations from across the private, not-for-profit, philanthropic and government sectors to help prevent homelessness for Victorian women and children. This intensive model of service will provide strong, multi-directional pathways that link women with legal representation, social work support, financial coaching, job readiness and community, and use education and digital tools to reach thousands of women, so they can take steps early to create the best chance of preventing avoidable evictions into homelessness.

Learning new ways of helping women with work-related goals is important to us and working with Project Respect, a support and referral service for women trafficked for sexual exploitation and women in the sex industry has been essential. Over 20 of our staff and volunteers attended a workshop training day to learn how to design and deliver services to support women who want to transition from the sex industry, in partnership with Projects Respects Breaking Barriers Program.

A huge thank you to all our valued partners who generously donate, time money and resources to our work.