Budget calls for added tenacity
Training courses, even costly uni degrees, are within everyone’s reach, writes Lauren Ahwan
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