On their graduation day, we asked eight WomanKind participants to share some of their experiences of being part of the program.
What were your expectations of the WomanKind program?
“I expected it to be a comprehensive, holistic program designed for women, to help women get back into the workforce or to pursue their dreams. And my reality was matched. I‘m very much on my way. It’s very much a transformative process and a transformative journey and I love the fact that I have been matched with a mentor that will provide ongoing support for the next 6 to 12 months.”
“I expected it to give me the tools to be an effective job seeker and to learn how to better prepare my resume and cover letter when searching for a job and putting in a job application. I got so much out of the course, such as the importance of having an effective LinkedIn profile and the best way to fill out the LinkedIn profile/ webpage out. And also keeping a balance in your lifestyle with diet, exercise and support.”
“When I first heard about the WomanKind program, I thought it was necessary for me. I had the idea that it would build confidence and self-esteem, self-love and caring, which in turn was exactly what I needed. It met my expectations wholeheartedly, as well as the resume, cover letter and nutrition help. I believe you can’t apply for a job if you don’t first love yourself.”
Did anything surprise you about the program?
“I surprised myself to be honest. I’m not very good at keeping commitments. But I pretty much stuck with the entire program and I’m pretty proud of myself and am happy to be graduating today.”
“For me, it was full of surprises because I didn’t expect it would help my mentality as well and also to build my confidence. I thought before it was all about the cover letter and resume not about the wellbeing, the healthy life and life balance. It was very good and had more of an impact on me and was full of enjoyment and relaxing.”
“This program was really helpful and useful for me to build my confidence and get me ready for workforce challenges. Also to be a better human being.”
What parts of the program did you enjoy the most?
“The creative activities, doing the posters. The happiness boards and the wellbeing posters.”
“I loved revamping my resume.”
“The LinkedIn stuff was pretty good too, I learnt a lot.”
“I liked many different parts of the program and especially the fact that it was ten weeks and you came two days a week. Doing the process of transformational change you really do need contact and support.”
“It was good that it was just two days a week and we could do other things in our spare time.”
“For me the part of the program that I enjoyed the most was when we went to the career day at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. I got to know about the working culture in Australia and the environment and I got to talk to some employees and share their life and experiences. It was very nice and useful for me.”
Did you learn anything new about yourself as a result of taking part?
“I did. I learnt how to be a bit more confident about myself and speak out in a group and in front of people which I never really did because I’m shy. The program was a great journey for me.”
“Pretty much, I proved to myself that I can commit and finish it through.”
“I learnt I could go into the city two days a week for ten weeks. And be included and feel welcomed into the city which is an important step for getting back into work.”
“I learnt more about my strengths and weaknesses. The areas that I need to improve and I can highlight and amplify for job applications and going for job interviews. And the section we did with mock job interviews was excellent, because I know that was one of my problems, I had problems with the questions.”
“I learnt about stress management strategies. Especially when I’m not getting any response from job applications. Through this program I know how to overcome the stress and the anger management strategies so I will be more calm and never give up and keep giving an effort for myself and build networks.”
“I learnt about myself. That it is ok to think about yourself and love yourself and to know yourself. Know the things you like doing and to stop and think about yourself.”
Did taking part in the program reinforce or challenge any beliefs you had about yourself?
“My social anxiety issues have been challenged. I suffer from social anxiety at times and to be able to come and socialise and connect with different women has been a good challenge for me. I have also learnt to become more comfortable with public transport, getting here twice a week.”
“I learnt that, as a child sex abuse survivor, I am still highly accomplished even though I am in a position where I am not at work and have been chronically unemployed. I learnt that yes, I can still go out and I can still be included in society and that there is hope at the end of the tunnel. And that you can contribute to society.”
Thinking about your job search journey so far, how do you think the experience of the program will help you find work?
“Hopefully our mentors will be able to help us, not find jobs but support us to find work. And share with us their stories and their journeys and show us an example of how we can get to where we want to get to. Even if we do different jobs I’m sure there is a certain procedure that is quite broad that everyone can use to get to their dream goal.”
“It’s brought me back into motivation time. It’s been a long time out of work and I just want to work. My motivation is 10 out of 10 at the moment.”
“I think the Fitted for Work WomanKind program conditions us to feel optimistic about the job search which is fantastic. In a very welcoming environment, less mainstream and more specialised and welcoming. It gives you a very nurturing environment to go on a transformational journey with the support of the Fitted for Work staff.”
What skills have you learn that will help you keep work?
“Conflict resolution is one of them, time management, equity and awareness and discrimination is another, maybe.”
“Communication and teamwork which is really important in the workforce.”
“How to handle the stress in the workplace, it’s very important.”
“How to take care of yourself. If you can’t take care of yourself you can’t keep a job.”
“For me it has been eye opening that I can commit to something. Maybe I can take this experience and use it when things get tough in the future I can remind myself I have done this before and I can do it again.”
What feedback would you give women, colleagues or friends who might be thinking about taking part in this program?
“Well, first to go in with an open mind, don’t expect too much. Certainly have your expectations and voice them to the Fitted for Work staff. Before starting find out what the content is and if that interests you. As a general opinion that I have, women that are less fortunate or might have self-confidence issues, or social anxiety issues or haven’t been in work for a long time, I think this course will be beneficial. And as I said earlier it is in a very nurturing and welcoming environment. It’s not intimidating, I found it so anyway. I think I flourished in the course, I contributed to discussions, I connected with some special women and I hope to connect with them in the future.”
“It’s a transformative journey and stay at it.”
“I would tell them it’s a fantastic start to get back onto the road to employment. I have already given someone advice to do the course.”
“As a migrant, it is very helpful for the women because we don’t have friends, we don’t have guidance and family to support us. So this program is very good and great for you to participate in because the co-ordinators of this program are very supportive and give you really good guidance and material as well. I would highly recommend it for all the women.”
“As a single mother, I was 19 when I had my daughter and I had no family. As a single mother with no good influencers in your life, I think this program is great to make a change and to make a good influence in your life, to build self-esteem and encouragement. So I would definitely suggest doing this program to change.”
“The staff was very professional and helpful. Very kind and open and giving of their sources, themselves and their skills. I would speak quite highly of the staff that facilitated this program.”
“Staff went out of their way to help you feel like you fit in and to make the learning process easier.”
“I really enjoyed the course and I learnt a lot about myself and my journey. And I hope to take this and use all my skills in the future. “
A special thank you to Angelina, Nicoletta, Nicki, Natalie, Dia, Jane, Fiona and Neeta for providing permission for us reproduce your responses.