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Carringbush Adult Education

  • Project: Women's Entrepreneurship: building capacity for pathways and financial empowerment
  • Amount: $22,900
  • Year(s) Funded: 2020

Working together to fill a gap in service delivery

The Women’s Entrepreneurship project sees Carringbush Adult Education partner with Sisterworks to marry their respective areas of expertise and skills in an innovative and holistic approach to meet the needs of women from refugee and migrant backgrounds, who are experiencing significant barriers to further education and employment.

Jun, the Workshop Facilitator, shows Amir, one of the program's dedicated students, how to sew a coaster. Photo: Carringbush Adult Education

“I’m older so I’m very slow at learning and improving my English but I can learn how to crochet very quickly so I feel better about myself when I come to this Workshop.”


The project targets a cohort of highly disadvantaged women. The women are at the lowest level of English proficiency as well as literacy, both in their native language and English. They have disrupted education and low levels of work experience/history and are long-term unemployed. The partnership with SisterWorks aims to provide real and legitimate outcomes for the participants, with highly contextualised and practical education and opportunities for economic participation, supporting their future pathways and assisting them to successfully transition into Victoria’s broader community.

The collaborative workshop model provides women with low skills and little or no formal training or work experience, with opportunities to learn new skills and experience tangible achievements, building their confidence in a non-threatening space. This partnership project combines each organisation’s expertise and fill gaps in service delivery, supporting migrant and refugee women with complex barriers living in the City of Yarra. SisterWorks is experienced in teaching women crafting and entrepreneurship skills, but has limited expertise in teaching English language, literacy and general employability skills, which Carringbush specialises in.

In addition to being taught craft skills that will enable them to produce products for retail and generate income through SisterWorks, the women are taught a holistic suite of skills including financial management and literacy. They will receive payment for their created products and learn how to run as a small business. The workshop facilitator is recruited from the local community and is paid award rates. Carringbush and SisterWorks are providing on-going training to support her in performing administrative tasks and delivering the workshops.

SisterWorks received funding from the UN Women’s Second Chance Education and Vocational Learning Program for its “Hello Sister” project which aims to extend the reach of the SisterWorks’ Empowerment Hub model to women who are away from the Sisterworks flagship hub in Richmond.

In 2018, the Trust funded Learning Together, a CALD family literacy engagement program for Collingwood’s most vulnerable migrant and refugee families. The project delivered strong outcomes with the engagement of families from 16 different language groups and established excellent partnerships with education providers and 12 different support services in the City of Yarra. Many participants are now receiving regular social support as a result of the program. Carringbush has been successful in attracting Government funding to enable continuation of the project.