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Rachel Hain is helping WA women re-enter the workforce

Working on job connections

THE market is still digesting the latest jobs figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which showed an unexpected drop in the unemployment rate for September with the creation of 40,600 new jobs, 35,400 of those full-time positions.

The ABS figures show the trend in employment is rising at 4,700 per month, after it fell from December 2008 through to June, with its fastest rate of decline, 6,800 per month, recorded in March.

The jobs data is welcome news for many, none more so than Cottesloe-based not-for-profit organisation, Ready to Work Inc.

Ready to Work Inc was established in early 2008 to help disadvantaged, disabled and long-term unemployed women enter or re-enter the workforce.

The services provided are designed to help participants achieve economic independence and financial sustainability.

Each client referred to Ready to Work by job network agencies receives two sets of clothes for job interviews, donated by local firms such as Ernst & Young and KPMG, has their make-up provided by sponsor Designer Brands, and are taught interview techniques by trained human resources volunteers.

The organisation was founded by Kellie Benda, a successful businesswoman in Western Australia and senior executive at RAC, who says she has a strong interest in improving the circumstances of disadvantaged women.

When Ms Benda asked certified practising accountant, Rachael Hain, to join the team, she was immediately impressed.

“Women have greater issues with confidence than men and generally find it harder to re-enter the workforce, so after initially doing some research of similar organisations I thought it would be a great way to help these disadvantaged women," Ms Hain, who is the organisation's managing director, said.

Ready to Work was established thanks to a $91,000 initial set-up grant from Lotterywest, and the organisation is now pursuing further grants from private foundations as well as corporate sponsorships to remain sustainable into the future.

The NFP is a deductible gift recipient endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office and has been granted a charities licence.

“Funding from alternate sources is continually being investigated," Ms Hain said.

“We have had to rely on the assistance and support of friends and the board for the development of the marketing strategy for the organisation."

The first step of the marketing plan was to produce a logo and the brand.

“The Brand Agency very generously provided the design team who have developed the identity pro bono," Ms Hain said.

“Next we needed a location to ensure we can deliver the promise. Primewest Investments have generously provided us with free rent here at Cottesloe Central Shopping Centre. "The first-year marketing plan is under development now that we have our fundamentals in place.

“Basic marketing collateral is ready and now partners and sponsors are being briefed on our objectives to ensure that the initial plan has the greatest likelihood for success.

“This is an organisation based on partnerships and the marketing plan will reflect this. "The board, our volunteer team, our referring partners are all essential now. Soon we hope to announce new partners. It is a very exciting phase."

Ready to Work has volunteers with experience in human resources, office administration and styling of clients.

Since it was established, the organisation has assisted almost 40 women from various referral partners across the Perth metropolitan area.

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