By Donna de Zwart


2018 has been an exciting year for Fitted for Work. So much of the hard work that has been carried out behind the scenes have started to come to fruition.

In our Client Services, we’ve expanded our footprint.  Along with our traditional face to face services that we deliver in Melbourne and Sydney we now provide our services to women all over Australia with the creation of our virtual service delivery model.  This means that all women who need our services now have access. Those women living in rural and regional areas or women struggling with social anxiety or mobility issues can now access our services from the comfort of their own homes.

We have also expanded our service delivery and ensured that no woman is left out.  We are working closely with organisations such African Family Services through to our transgender sisters.

We’ve also expanded our definition around how our clients might identify:

Fitted for Work welcomes all women (trans and cis), including non-binary and gender non-conforming people and all those who identify as women, who have experienced disadvantage and are seeking employment. We believe self-definition is at the discretion of the individual.

A big part of our strategy has been to practice what we preach to our clients around economic security as an organisation. Both of our Social Enterprises have had a successful year.  The Conscious Closet has gone from a small idea around a pop-up shop to a beautifully curated sustainable fashion experience and continues to grow.  Our second social enterprise SheWorks which has expanded its reach.  What started as purely a placement service has expanded to commercial offerings to one of Australia’s largest corporates.

At FFW we recognise that we often see women when they are at their most vulnerable, and their situations are dire. For example, they may be facing eviction and googling how to live out of their car with young children.  For a long time, we have recognised that early intervention is the key to quicker employment outcomes as well as lessening the often traumatic impacts for women and their families who experience disadvantage.

As a result, we have been working with one of the big Banks on a pilot project known as the Supervention Model. In the pilot, the Bank’s Financial Assistance Solutions team refer female customers experiencing financial hardship due to unemployment to Fitted for Work for a consultation. We then engage directly with customers to offer assistance with arranging and organising interviews, training and skills development, assistance with resumes, business clothing for interviews, professional mentoring and counselling services. Based on the success of this pilot, the Bank have now extended the partnership through until mid-2019.

Despite our success, we still have so much more to do.  The more we grow our presence the many more women seek out our services and while we are working towards our financial independence we are not there yet.  We still need your help and generosity to keep our services relevant and accessible to Australian women who are struggling.  I believe there has never been a more important time to invest in women. The flow on effect is not only transformational for the individual but has far-reaching impact for all of us.  As Kofi Annan said: “When women thrive all of society benefits, and succeeding generations are given a better start in life”.

Thank you for your ongoing support. On behalf of the Fitted for Work Board, Staff and our courageous Clients we wish you a happy, healthy and safe holiday season.