Regional women will be given the tools to ensure their career sustainability across country Western Australia and beyond as the result of a new partnership, believed to be the first of its kind for rural communities.
As part of the collaboration between Curtin University and the Rural, Regional and Remote Women’s Network of WA, the team will also collect data on contemporary careers in the regions and navigating the challenges of the future job market including career transitions for women at early, mid and later career stages.
Professor Julia Richardson, the Head of Curtin’s School of Management and Marketing, said the collaboration would equip rural, regional and remote women with the skills and knowledge to build and enhance their short and long-term career sustainability in the regions and beyond.
“Research shows that women are less likely to apply for a position or even consider it unless they think they can fulfil all of or at least 80 per cent of the criteria in the job advertisement, compared to men. This ‘self-policing’ means that they deny themselves opportunities which could turn out to be very rewarding and developmental,” Professor Richardson said.
“While there may be some limitations for face-to-face job opportunities in country areas, there are likely to be more jobs with a requirement for or flexibility to work virtually at least two to three days a week in the future. Given this greater flexibility and changing technology means that rural, regional and remote communities are no longer as ‘remote’ as they used to be, there will also be new opportunities for regional women to gain jobs in healthcare, agriculture, regional tourism and the tech industry.”
Rural, Regional and Remote Women’s Network of WA Chief Executive Officer Kendall Galbraith said one of the biggest issues for regional Australia was access to diverse employment, which can limit career growth and weaken economic independence.
“This tends to impact rural, regional and remote women more as they are typically surrounded by male-dominated industries and are then forced to forge their own path,” Ms Galbraith said.
“This project is designed to support rural, regional and remote women in navigating sustainable employment pathways from the regions and strengthen their workforce capacity.”
Liaising with business partners, the RRR Network and the Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the program will be offered in Narrogin, Kalgoorlie, Broome, Geraldton and Albany.
Experts from Curtin including Student Engagement Director Mrs Hannah Wilkinson and Associate Professor Jane Coffey, along with industry and local community groups, will facilitate a series of targeted workshops that also include industry networking and peer-mentoring.
The program, which starts in May, also provides a foundation for future research exploring career opportunities and trajectories in rural, regional and remote communities.
The collaboration has been supported with a $320,810 National Careers Institute Partnership Grant, which is a Federal Government initiative that provides funding for organisations such as employers, training providers, schools and community organisations to work collaboratively to improve career outcomes and create education and training pathways for Australians.
For more information about the RRR Network, visit here.