The Placement Circle

Women CAN Australasia Ltd

Supported beneficiary groups within Women & Girls
Age Demographic
Adults - aged 25 to under 65
Project Focus
Project Area

Project Description

The projects will help women reconnect with the workforce.  We assist women to transition through study and onto a job within the framework of our award winning peer support model.

We are focusing on training and employment in the trades, disability and aged care, and childcare sectors where there is a huge skills shortage and high job demand.  In the trades space, there is also an under representation of women.

Through our program, The Placement Circle (TPC), we will offer the following programs:

Trades Apprenticeships in Mildura:

  • recruit 15 women and support them through an apprenticeship at SuniTAFE in Mildura in 3 different streams of trades being electrical, plumbing and carpentry. We will also assist them to connect with apprenticeships with employers in the region.

Aged, Disability and Childcare traineeships in Shepparton, Bendigo, Mildura and Echuca:

  • recruit 50 women and support them through a Cert III in Individual Support or a Cert III in Early Childcare Education & Care using an Earn & Learn model where women are paid to work and study

Cleaning and Domestic Assistant traineeships on the Mornington Peninsula and southeast Melbourne:

  • recruit 25 women and support them through traineeships into cleaning and domestic assistant roles in the caring sector. Women can also use their cleaning training to then commence their own micro business.


The projects would also provide them with peer support during their training.  The presence of a peer supported framework is unique and is a significant enabler to giving women the confidence to transition from unpaid to paid employment via vocational training.

We need to engage project managers to oversee the projects and pay for costs including vehicle, phones, and office accommodation costs, rollout of a marketing & communications plan, assistance with TAFE enrolments, provide monthly peer support events, liaison with building companies and potential employers to take on apprentices, and the provision of web/IT support.

WomenCAN Facilities Services:

We also run a unique woman to woman  social enterprise where our team of tradeswomen, cleaners and gardeners deliver facilities maintenance to women living in crisis and other supported accommodation.

We need equipment:

Ute, power tools, commercial wet & dry vacuum cleaners, uniforms, and a lockable storage cage.

Expected Outcomes

Permanent employment for newly skilled, confident women.

Our model has been evaluated by Victoria University. The specific question we tested was whether the unique sequence of our offering (being to link peer supported women in a place-based program of vocational education at their local TAFE and then into meaningful employment with an employer who we have identified as a safe employer i.e. OHS compliant, Cultural and remuneration appropriate) makes a difference to the work readiness of women who have otherwise disconnected from the workforce.  The overwhelming finding of the report was YES.

We also have a PhD candidate undertaking a longitudinal study of our model.

Project Data & Lessons

The proposed evaluation methodology is a mixed methods approach to collecting and analysing data comprising focus groups and program document and data review. The evaluation will investigate these overarching evaluation questions:

  • To what extent is the TPC Model being implemented as intended?
  • How is the TPC Model impacting on participants?
  • What are the barriers and enablers to the effective implementation of the TPC Model?
  • How could the TPC model be improved in the future?


The evaluation team will collect and analyse existing national VET system data and relevant WomenCan or provider pilot data relevant to demonstrating pilot outcomes. Each pilot cohort will consist of 15- 25 members who will participate in the focus groups.

Two sets of two focus groups will be conducted for each pilot (at the beginning and end of each TAFE course). The conduct of multiple, smaller focus groups produces more valid data than single large focus groups. Focus group size will be limited to ensure that each participant is able to participate effectively.

A reporting format will be developed to (i) demonstrate outputs and (ii) inform program design and improvement.

A final evaluation report in a white paper format will be produced , and based on the findings of the pilots, Placement Circles could be replicated across Australia and the evidence- based results used to inform State and Federal Government training and employment policies for women.

Project Dates

Project Commences: February 1, 2023
Project Completes: December 31, 2023

Funding Details

Funding Needed
Current Funding
Total Project Costs
Approved Tax Deductability Status
Approved Tax Concession Charity
Other Funding Sources
Own capital, Myer Foundation, Jack Brockhoff Foundation, Helen McPherson Smith Trust, Arcare Foundation, Bowden Marsden, Westpac Foundation, Australian Communities Foundation, TFN, Mutual Trust, Victoria Womens Trust
Other Support Opportunities
Impact investment, In-kind contributions, Low-interest or no-interest loans, Pro bono services, Subsidies

Organisation Details

Women CAN Australasia Ltd
ABN: 63 636 406 972


Mikaela Stafrace
Phone: 0419034987

About Women CAN Australasia Ltd

Founded in 2019, WomenCAN Australia is a registered charity which assists women to reskill and reconnect with the paid workforce. We do this by helping women build confidence, connections, and work capability. Our program, The Placement Circle, guides women through peer supported vocational training and onto place-based jobs.

Our operations in Melbourne, Bendigo, Shepparton, Mornington Peninsula and Mildura assist women to circuit break the cycle of disadvantage. We do this by identifying & removing barriers to women’s participation in the work force, We do this using an innovative peer supported vocational training and employment model.

We know what reconnecting women with the workforce requires structural and practical considerations:

  • Women need to earn while they learn—their professional development must not compete with their ability to put food on the table.
  • WomenCAN works with organisations and workplaces to provide support and assistance in shifting the culture which creates barriers to womens’ employment.
  • Our quest is to create safe spaces for women by providing peer support, training, confidence building, connections, and networks, as well as developing work capabilities in fields not traditionally available to women.

We also run a facilities maintenance social enterprise. Our tradeswomen, cleaners and gardeners deliver trades services by women for women in their homes. The majority of our clients are providers of rooming house, crisis and short term/long term accommodation including PSI, for women.

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