AFTER 17 years as a stay-at-home mother of four, Rebekah Tyhouse “was lost” when it came to re-entering the workforce.
“When you’ve been at home for so long, it gets lonely and overwhelming; you don’t quite know what to do when it comes to putting yourself out there for a job interview,” she says.
In August, Rebekah enrolled in a “Return to Work” course run at the Canberra Institute of Technology’s Woden campus, which targets women re-entering the workforce after a period, educating them on skills including resumes, job-seeking strategies and interview techniques.
The 14-week course recently introduced “styling sessions” with local style and image consultant Sanja Marais, focusing on the working wardrobe, how to dress on a budget, body language and confidence building.
Sanja says the presentation side of returning to work is “harder than people think”.
“If you’re a stay-at-home mother or on a low income, often you don’t have the time to go shopping or can’t afford an expensive suit for an interview,” she says.
“It’s about educating on what you can do on a budget, with a few key pieces and little hints and tricks, from where to shop, what key pieces are appropriate for the workplace or how to update your look using what you already have at home.”
She says she’s seen an “amazing turnaround” in the confidence of women in the class.
“Some of these women have been away, either caring for their children or a parent, or just had a change in family circumstance, and they come in a bit unsure of themselves. Now to see them excited and ready for job interviews, it’s fantastic,” Sanja says.
According to CIT foundation skills co-ordinator Elizabeth Kehoe, around 80 per cent of women who finish the course go on to find employment or study further.
“These women come from very diverse backgrounds and family environments, and a big factor of the course is they’re coming together and supporting each other,” she says.
Rebekah says she’ll soon be ready for job interviews after coming to the course “knowing nothing”.
“I think with all the tips from Sanja, particularly, I’ll have the confidence to present myself for a job interview and walk in there thinking ‘I can do this’, and with that confidence, it’s much more likely I’ll get the job,” she says.
The next “Return to Work” course begins in February. For more information visit cit.edu.au/