Bud­get calls for added tenac­ity

Train­ing cour­ses, even costly uni de­grees, are within ev­ery­one’s reach, writes Lau­ren Ah­wan

The Advertiser - Careers - - Training & Education -

A RANGE of train­ing op­tions ex­ist for those on tight bud­gets, ex­perts say.

Free or low-cost up­skilling pro­grams are of­fered through var­i­ous bod­ies, in­clud­ing com­mu­nity groups, job ser­vice providers and TAFE.

And univer­sity de­grees are within reach for peo­ple on shoe­string bud­gets.

Sal­va­tion Army Em­ploy­ment Plus spokes­woman Kir­rilee Trist says any­one can ac­cess train­ing, though it is of­ten at least at a par­tial cost.

‘‘ It is well worth look­ing into the (govern­ment) sup­port avail­able and not as­sum­ing that any­thing is out of reach,’’ Trist says. ‘‘ Most providers will of­fer stu­dents a pay­ment plan to as­sist those stu­dents that can­not pay up front.’’

Trist says peo­ple must think cre­atively about how to fit a qual­i­fi­ca­tion into their bud­get.

Those al­ready in the work­force could en­rol with an on­line ed­u­ca­tor, such as Open Univer­sity, and fit study around work com­mit­ments to avoid for­go­ing an in­come while learn­ing.

Un­der­tak­ing an ap­pren­tice­ship or trainee­ship of­fers the chance of be­ing paid to learn.

Unit­ingCare Aus­tralia em­ploy­ment ser­vices man­ager Cherie Jolly says most free train­ing is re­served for un­em­ployed peo­ple who have regis­tered with a job ser­vice provider. She says pro­grams vary ac­cord­ing to in­di­vid­ual cir­cum­stances.

Jolly says find­ing bud­get­friendly train­ing is in­creas­ingly im­por­tant as more low­in­come work­ers seek to im­prove their sit­u­a­tion.

‘‘ The ma­jor­ity of growth in (de­mand for) our emer­gency as­sis­tance is among the work­ing poor – peo­ple who are on a ba­sic wage,’’ she says.

‘‘ If some­body is strug­gling to meet the rent or if you can’t put food on your ta­ble then get­ting train­ing to up­skill can pro­vide a way out of that.’’

Peter Wal­lSmith was an Amer­ica’s Cup yachts­man be­fore in­jury forced him on to a dis­abil­ity pen­sion.

He was un­em­ployed for 10 years be­fore reg­is­ter­ing with Unit­ingCare’s Em­ploy­ment Ac­cess pro­gram and tak­ing up free train­ing in as­set main­te­nance. He got work as a school cleaner, a job he stayed at for more than a year ‘‘ to show I could sus­tain em­ploy­ment’’.

Wall-Smith later ob­tained a Cer­tifi­cate IV in Men­tal Health and now works for Em­ploy­ment Ac­cess as a busi­ness li­ai­son of­fi­cer, vis­it­ing em­ploy­ers to dis­cuss hir­ing dis­abled work­ers.

JOB LIFE­SAVER: Peter Wall-Smith is a busi­ness li­ai­son of­fi­cer with Unit­ingCare Wes­ley; as a yachts­man in the Amer­ica’s Cup (left). Main pic­ture: Camp­bell Brodie

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