Women returning to the workforce

There's never been a better time for women to get back into the workforce. If you're ready to get into training, land that dream job, or make a career move— just bring your life experience, we'll help you turn it into a career

We know you have so much to offer – more than you may realise.

Free and friendly advice and support

Jobs and Skills WA: Free support at your local Jobs and Skills Centre

A friendly careers specialist at your local Jobs and Skills Centre can help you see where your life experiences and skills can translate into job ready skills and knowledge, and offer advice for all aspects of returning to the workforce. Whether it's a new job, starting training, or career planning support — your local JSC can help. And all services are free!

If you're not sure how to take the next step...

To get one-on-one assistance that can boost your confidence to take those first steps, reach out to your local Jobs and Skills Centre today. 

There's no limit to what you can achieve!

Chantelle Un
Certificate III in Community Services

"I've had such a positive experience studying at TAFE, and recommend other people to make a plan to study and follow it through. I have a good network through my partner, family and children, and now through TAFE and my new work. I feel accomplished, knowing that I have followed my path. I hope to help others do the same, and make their lives better too."

Kama Fitzgerald
Diplomas in Counselling; Community Services; and Youth Work

"Prior to starting my studies, I was a stay at home mum of three beautiful children.
It is never too late to go back and follow your dreams. "

Rebecca Hudson
Certificate III in Mobile Crane Operations

"During my traineeship, I had to learn so much about myself and my limits. One of the biggest challenges I faced was to learn how to learn again. If you have self-doubt or feel you are burdened by being outside of the 'normal' — you need to believe YOU CAN DO IT."

Our free online jobs board

Jobs and Skills WA: Women returning to the workforce.

Jobs and Skills Centres work closely with employers, business owners and industry across WA to find employment opportunities, including apprenticeships and traineeships, and post them to our free online jobs board. There's a great range of jobs available — from entry level through to higher level career opportunities — maybe your dream job is on there right now! 

When you see a vacancy on the board that interests you, select the title to read more about the job and how to apply. You can use the filters to search for specific jobs, and in different locations. 

If you would like some assistance using the jobs board, or to update your CV/resumé and write an application, your local Jobs and Skills Centre can help.

Visit the jobs board

Ready for new opportunities?

The NOW program

New Opportunities for Women (NOW) is a course that was developed specifically for Western Australian women returning to the workforce, who need to boost or refresh their employability skills and build the confidence to take those first steps into study or employment. NOW has been running successfully for many years in WA, and has helped hundreds of women of all ages and backgrounds to make a new start.

The course, which is an accredited Certificate I level qualification, includes units in communication skills; computers and technology; maths; reading; writing; and first aid. It also covers personal development units that will enhance your self-confidence, recognise the skills and experience you already have, and help you to find new directions and set goals for the future. Last but not least, it will help set you up to apply for jobs and perform at your best in job interviews. 

The NOW program is available at WA TAFE colleges and selected training providers, either full time or part time with flexible hours to suit women with family responsibilities. 

You can check with your local TAFE for more information, or search for 52877WA on our course list here

Jobs and Skills WA: Women returning to the workforce.

Look at the skills you already have!

You may have more skills than you know! Skills can come from all of your life, work, learning and leisure activities. If you've previously worked in a career, but more recently have spent time balancing a household budget, multitasking childcare schedules, and maintaining a family home – these are transferrable skills that employers are looking for!

Here's just a few examples of how your life experience translates directly to employability skills.

What you've been doing What skills and knowledge you could have 
Managing a household Budgeting and financial management; planning and organising; time management; problem solving and decision making; creative thinking
Being on committees Teamwork; listening skills; verbal communication skills; business documents and practices; negotiation and conflict resolution; decision making; problem solving; time management; planning and organising; leadership
Chief cook Food preparation and safety; nutrition; kitchen and cooking skills; planning and organising; time management
Being a mum Communication skills; listening; negotiation and conflict resolution; problem solving; creative thinking; first aid; time management; planning and organising; leadership; teamwork
Playing sport Teamwork; leadership; communication skills; listening; negotiation and conflict resolution; physical flexibility; decision making; problem solving;  time management; planning and organising
Volunteering Depending on the type of volunteering you have done, this could be a long list! Think about teamwork; communication skills; time management; decision making; negotiation and problem solving; business documents; business practices; customer service and leadership

There are just a few examples, but never think that you have "just" been a stay at home mum, or "not doing much" because you haven't been in paid employment... think about all aspects of what you do, and what you know, and how they relate to being in the workforce.

Useful resources

To help get you take stock of your life experiences and how they relate to employability skills, the following resources may be useful. You can find them all here

Template: Recognising skills and abilities Discover the skills and abilities that you already have
Checklist: Personal and transferable skills This checklist will help you identify skills that are transferrable to the workplace
Fact sheet: Employability skills Discover what skills you already have that are important to most employers
Fact sheet: Changing your career Use this to help guide you towards a career that suits you
Template: Your action plan Get started on your own career action plan and start setting goals for your future

Browse occupations and see what interests you

We have hundreds of occupational profiles you can browse through and find out about what kind of work they offer, the job responsibilities, working conditions, and training you may need.

Use the keyword search below, or you can go to our main Occupational Profiles list and browse through the list from A—Z here

Please note that the impact of COVID-19 is an unprecedented situation that will impact our ability to report accurate course information and employment trends at this time. Some employment trends and course availability information provided in occupation profiles may not be current.

Why get back into the workforce?

You bring your life experience, we'll help turn it into a career!

WA women are getting into the workforce for many different reasons, and your personal situation will influence the type of work you're looking for. Whether you find yourself needing to rethink your situation now that your kids are at school, you've had a change in relationship status, or you simply want to make a change and get back out there — there's lots of positives about returning to work. 

Jobs and Skills WA: Supporting women returning to the workforce

You are needed!

Gender diversity is important in the workforce, and we know that women bring unique skills and abilities to a job. We also know that, traditionally, women are highly valued in some industry sectors such as aged care, healthcare, community services, nursing, retail and hospitality.

But the great news is... many industries such as mining and resources and business, and trades such as building and construction, are actively seeking women to work in non-traditional roles! There's even programs offering employers incentives to employ women and diversify their workforce.

All of this means there's a whole load of new opportunities available for you, in a range of exciting jobs.

There's really no barriers when it comes to your career options!

It's your time now

If you've been busy raising a family, when the kids start school you'll have more "me" time and can consider a return to work or getting into training. There may be new things to consider if you'll be balancing career and family responsibilities, but many employers offer flexible working hours and conditions that make this easier, and mums who return to the workforce often feel empowered by the benefits that working offers.

Financial independence and less money worries

A career comeback means more financial independence for yourself, and less money-related stress for the whole family. Whether you want to work part time to help with bills or spending money, or get back into a full career with a nice salary, it's a great feeling to have that financial support!

Family-friendly flexibility

More workplaces than ever are now embracing the idea of family-friendly work environments, and allow you flexibility over when, where, and how your work is accomplished. In fact; there's actually workplace legislation that encourages it! And working from home options are now becoming more available, which is a great help to women with family responsibilities. 

Learning new things

Returning to the workforce opens up a whole world of learning — new skills, new experiences, new people — it can give you a whole new energy! 

Gaining new skills and developing your knowledge through training is another great way to progress towards a career. If you're skilling up, most TAFEs and training providers offer delivery options to suit all kinds of schedules. These include on campus, full or part time, flexible delivery outside of business hours, online learning, or via virtual classrooms!

Social benefits

We sometimes don't really think that work equals friends, but most people have at least one friend at work. Some of us even have a workplace best friend! Getting back into the workforce will introduce you to new people, who can enrich your life. 

Finding time to socialise is often challenging if you have a young family, and you may find yourself craving adult company — your workmates can offer that! And chances are there will be other women just like you, with a family, so you'll be able to share stories and experiences.

Sense of accomplishment

Raising a family and/or managing a household is one of the most important and fulfilling jobs you can have, but sometimes you just want something for yourself —  something that you are achieving, reaching your own goals.

Returning to the workforce can give you a fantastic feeling of pride and accomplishment. Even if you just start with small steps — maybe a low stress part time job — it feels good to know you're moving forward in a positive direction. 

Your local Jobs and Skills Centre can help you take those first steps to returning to work.

Zoe's story

Zoe decided to enrol in a Certificate IV in Landscape Design at TAFE, which enabled her to do the course part time and balance her family responsibilities with study.

She was able to build her confidence through the training, and received excellent support from her TAFE lecturers — she says her training experience has finally made her feel like she's stepping into the person she was always supposed to be.

After graduating, Zoe received an offer for her dream job and now says she's living the dream! 

Options to skill up

If you need to skill up and build some confidence before you're ready to get into the workforce, we've got some great options for you! 

We have free short course skill sets, targeted to specific job ready skills that can give you a head start on getting a job; job ready programs that include work experience so you gain real hands on experience; pre-traineeships and pre-apprenticeships to help you get a full apprenticeship or traineeship; and full qualifications with course fees reduced by up to 72 per cent.

Plus we have support available to help you get into training, and specialised support programs if you would like to build some job ready skills. You can also get free advice and information about training at your local Jobs and Skills Centre.

Free short courses: Skills Ready skill sets

Our range of Skills Ready skill sets have been developed in consultation with businesses and employers to deliver fast track training that will get you skills ready for jobs. They are available in areas including including hospitality, aged care, healthcare, retail, business, cyber security, green jobs, pool lifeguard, small business, agriculture, heavy haulage driving, mental health, construction.. and many more!

Skills WA: Women returning to the workforce
Skills WA: Women returning to the workforce
Skills WA: Women returning to the workforce
Skills WA: Women returning to the workforce

Whether it's a refresher or an introduction to a new field of work, these skill sets will bridge any gaps in your knowledge without too much of a time commitment — most run for only a few weeks and are available part time, and some can be done online. All the skill sets contain units from nationally accredited and recognised vocational education and training (VET) qualifications. 

Some of these skill sets are 100% free for everyone, and others are 100% free for eligible persons including 15—24 year olds, jobseekers; and people holding a pensioner concession or Health Care Card. 

Show me all the free Skills Ready training

Job Ready Programs — Pathways to employment

Are you looking for work, but need some skills and experience? How would you like to get on a pathway to employment, through a program that combines training and on the job industry experience that provides opportunities to connect with a job, an apprenticeship, traineeship, or further training and employment? Right now there's many new programs and projects all across Western Australia, creating a pipeline of work and fantastic job opportunities in a range of industries.

Jobs and Skills WA: Women returning to the workforce
Jobs and Skills WA: Women returning to the workforce
Jobs and Skills WA: Women returning to the workforce

There's never been a better time to get on a pathway to employment, and we want to help you take advantage of all these opportunities! Our Job Ready Programs are short courses that combine training at a TAFE college or private training provider, with a period of industry placement where you'll gain real hands on experience in the workplace.

The programs are currently available in a range of industry areas where the jobs are — including aged care, disability support, and building and construction — and they're 100% free for eligible students including 15—24 year olds, jobseekers; and people holding a pensioner concession or Health Care Card. 

Find out more about the Job Ready Programs

Qualifications with course fees reduced by half or more

For some jobs or career goals, you'll need to have a full qualification. The good news is we have reduced the course fees* by up to 72 per cent on 210 qualifications for areas where skilled workers are in demand, to help you take advantage of these job opportunities!

Course fees are capped at only $400 annually for eligible students!

That means that concession-eligible students won't pay any more than $400 in course fees*, no matter what they actually add up to — this can save you hundreds of dollars! The $400 annual fees cap is available for people aged 15—24; jobseekers; people receiving Youth Allowance, AUSTUDY or ABSTUDY, and persons holding  a pensioner concession or Health Care Card. The annual course fees cap is $1,200 for non-concession eligible students.

These reduced-fee qualifications are part of our Lower fees, local skills program, and they're available from selected TAFE colleges and private training providers across Western Australia.

With 210 qualifications to choose from, there's something for everyone — from automotive to aged care, tourism and hospitality to information technology, childcare to agriculture, pastry chef to viticulture, building and construction to electrical engineering, science, veterinary nursing, web design and development... too many to list here! 

These are all nationally recognised and accredited qualifications. And remember, eligible students won't pay more than $400 in course fees for any of them! We have details about these reduced-fee Lower fees, local skills qualifications and how the annual fees cap works, plus a full list of what's available, on our Skills Ready page.

Show me the reduced-fee courses

*The fee reduction and annual fees cap applies to course fees only — other fees may apply. Please visit the Skills Ready page for full details.

Jobs and Skills WA: Women returning to the workforce
Jobs and Skills WA: Women returning to the workforce
Jobs and Skills WA: Women returning to the workforce
Jobs and Skills WA: Women returning to the workforce

Apprenticeships and traineeships

Doing an apprenticeship or a traineeship enables you to earn while you learn — you work and get paid, just like a regular employee, but you also complete a vocational education and training (VET) qualification. And they're not just for "young" people, there's no upper age limit.

Apprenticeships focus on licensed trades areas such as bricklaying, engineering, plumbing, hairdressing, mechanical, electrical etc.

Traineeships are generally for non-trade areas such as information technology, business, aged care and retail. 

The training component is delivered through a mix of on the job learning, and formal training with a TAFE college or training provider.

Take a look at this short video with stories from women who are loving their apprenticeship.

You can find out more about apprenticeships and traineeships here

Support to get you into training

If you would like a bit of support to be able to get into training; or to build your reading and writing, technology and maths skills to help with your study, we can help!

Jobs and Skills WA: Women returning to the workforce.

We have a range of learning support options available through our Participation—Equity programs, including:

  • financial assistance to help with course fees;
  • assistance with things like meals, transport and child care;
  • services such as mentoring and counselling; and
  • help with resumé writing and job placement.

We also offer foundation skills and equity courses, which focus on language, literacy and numeracy, and employability skills such as teamwork, problem solving, self-management, digital literacy and using technology – all key skills requirements for success in both training and the workplace.

Find out more about our learning support programs

Free advice, information and support

If you're  motivated to make a move, but need some friendly advice around returning to the workforce in a way that works for your personal situation, our Jobs and Skills Centres can help.  Free advice is available from career experts who can work with you to create a custom plan to get you back into the workforce in a job that's right for you. They can also help with decisions about training options, if you need to skill up.

JSCs are located across Perth and throughout regional WA. Best part is, all the services they offer are free! From information and advice about training courses, through to help with job seeking and career planning, they are ready to help. Call your local Jobs and Skills Centre for a chat, or find your nearest centre and stop by.