[Sub ID 4757] Learn2Work Playgroups (Playgroup Australia)

Submission ID: 4757
Organisation name: Playgroup Australia
Contact name: Dr Anthony Ryan
State: ACT
Contact email: ceo@playgroupaustralia.com.au

Which priority group of the Try, Test and Learn Fund does your idea support?
Young parents

What need or issue are you trying to address?
Many young parents struggle with entering the workforce due to a range of barriers – including inadequate education (often foreshortened by the demands of parenthood), lack of confidence/isolation, access to or appropriateness of child care or lack of family/peer support. Many young parents are still in the process of experiencing cognitive and emotional developmental challenges themselves. Learn2Work Playgroups can provide a soft-entry for these young people (primarily mothers, but other carer types are welcome) to get together, support each other, train & learn about child development & family support or other courses – all in the company of their children, without the need for childcare or interrupting their parenting routines & under the guidance of a trained facilitator.

Playgroups support parents in 80% of Australian postcodes. Some playgroup organisations have trial led models of training & education in this setting for a number of programs (including Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander programs). We suggest that this idea could be further developed into one that not only provides a supportive nurturing environment for these vulnerable young parents, but also improves their parenting skills, facilitates their completion of qualifications, provides supervised practice, on-the-job-training and potential work opportunities (all without the need for child care).

What is your idea?
We are proposing an innovative model called Learn2Work Playgroups where a playgroup is established with this cohort by a trained facilitator. The playgroup then becomes a vehicle for young parents to meet & support each other, participate in training & education, get mentoring & supervision by a qualified leader, access work placement opportunities & be assisted into employment or further training. All this will occur in a playgroup setting with the corollary benefits that this brings for young children, other carers, siblings and family members, whilst increasing community connection and capacity building, school transition, parenting support & volunteer promotion.

• The playgroups will comprise the target young parents (& interested carers/students) & their 0-5 children, based on regional demand, & include local partners with service relationships/offerings for young parents
• They will be facilitated by a trained community development/early childhood professional (able to support & supervise participants at TAFE level)
• The program will offer all the benefits of well-facilitated playgroups (play-based learning, peer-support, referrals, capacity building, community connections, parenting advice etc). In addition the facilitator will guide the young parents through an online/external cert 2/3 course (in children’s/community services, high school completion etc), with structured sessions & workshops during playgroup, one-on-one mentoring from the facilitator, local TAFE support (where available), supervised work placements/projects, assessment and job-matching/employment service referrals
• The facilitator will arrange a work placement/project for each student at a community playgroup or similar setting where they will be able to practice & expand their skills in a familiar & comfortable environment.
• Once they have completed the 300 – 600 hours of study & placement/project required for their cert type, the facilitator will assist them to find work in their local community in the playgroup, childcare, family day care, disability or community areas etc.