Work and study as parents who share in the family day-to-day role as carers have a singular advantage – they can share the load. As single or s0lo parents, accessing work that allows you to also manage the carer role has many challenges, but add study or career demands, the whole thing can seem, well…too darn hard.

While TAFE colleges and Uni’s do make allowances for hardship, and there are free courses out there, or at least sponsored training programs with ‘Employment pathway providers’, the choices are not always very clear.

Who Can Provide Advice on Training ?

  • Search for course information that’s right for you on the Course Seeker website.
  • If you want to examine changing your career or work pathway with study, check out the myskills website for information on upskilling and changing your career
  • If you’re aged 17 to 24 and looking for work, you may be able to study a free or low-fee course.
    Read about JobTrainer on the myskills website.
  • If you think that you need extra help with language or maths before you think more about studying, there is a ‘Skills for Education and Employment’ program helps eligible job seekers learn the skills they need for the job they want. It focuses on improving language, reading, writing and maths. You can get up to 650 hours of training wherever you live in Australia.  Read more about Skills for Education and Employment

Am I Eligible for Study Support ?

Study rules

There are rules about what you study if you are seeking financial support during this time. You need to be studying an approved course as a full time or part time student. An approved course must be among the following list:

  • a secondary course
  • an undergraduate course
  • a graduate course
  • certain masters courses
  • a TAFE course
  • a diploma course.

There are approved courses and institutions (places of study) that will help you meet the study requirements.

You may study as a full time student or part time student. Part time study is at least 25% of a full time study load.

NOTE: If you’re a part time student, you must meet one of the following to be eligible for a payment:

  • you’re a single parent with a dependent child under 16 years
  • you already receive a  Carer Payment
  • you have disability, illness or injury that affects your ability to study full time.

Most importantly, if your youngest child has turned 8, you can use your mutual obligation commitment (15 hours pw) to study an approved course.   If you are unsure about your subsidy entitlements or obligations view the DHS self service info online:

Families (Parenting Payment, Child Care Benefit and Family Tax Benefit A & B): 136 150
Jobseekers (inc Newstart Allowance): 132 850

You may also be eligible for Child Care Subsidy to help with the cost of child care.

You may also be eligible for Additional Child Care Subsidy.
You’ll need to be getting Child Care Subsidy and meet the Transition to Work activity requirements

Can I Cope With Studying ?

There are many many work and training programs across Australia, and your eligibility will vary according to your current carer situations. We agree that being a solo parent is busy and demanding. Its important to look for study opportunities that will work for you and your family.

ParentsNext programs offer a way prepare for work when your children go to school. The program can support you to:

  • Identify your education and employment goals.
  • Increase your qualifications, if needed.
  • Work on a step by step plan to reach your goals, including addressing any barriers you may face in finding work.
  • Develop practical skills to help you get a job.
  • Access childcare services and assistance.
  • Link you with services and activities beneficial to you, in your local area.

Job and Support Agencies across Australia have staff to provide mentoring, resources and career training support.  You can browse a good many of these – but the best measure of whether they suit your needs, whether they understand your goals and circumstance is to actually call and speak about their range of services.

Universities and TAFE providers also have great career and training support staff wh0 can help answer your questions about supporting solo parents in study.

It’s important to be clear about what the training can provide in terms of your work goals, whether the training organisation will be flexible to assist you with time demands as a solo parent, and that you are not disadvantaged financially by taking up loans 0r other costs for learning that will create family stress.

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