McAuley Works


Jobs as a pastry chef, pattern maker, child care worker, customer support worker and cleaner: these are just some of the diverse roles in which 16 women who’ve joined our McAuley Works service are now employed.

It’s been a remarkable success rate given that the majority of the women who access the service have experienced family violence.

‘Our women are dealing with many other issues which makes it challenging to find and sustain work,’ says Justine Connelly, McAuley Works Coordinator. ‘Most haven’t worked before at all.’

Justine says there are now 112 women registered with McAuley Works support. ‘It’s been a rapid growth for a new service: we had just 10 participants at the start of this year.

‘We see a wide range of women. Some may have completed school in year 8 and have very limited literacy while there are others who have degrees and come from a professional background.

‘Whatever their circumstances we place them at the centre of our approach right from the start and concentrate on getting them job ready. We help with resume preparation, coaching on interview techniques, and whatever practical steps are needed to compete in the job market.’

Justine says the story of one young woman ‘M’ demonstrates what can be achieved and the difference that our one-on-one support makes.

‘M had many barriers that had prevented her from getting a job. She’d dealt with serious family violence, was a sole parent, experienced mental health issues and struggled with addiction.

‘When we first met her, she didn’t believe she could have any value to any employer. Part of our approach was working to build her confidence and esteem. Our focus was on what she could do, not what she couldn’t.’

Justine says that this encouragement gave M the impetus to attend a training course. Once she had completed this she was supported to meet and register with a labour hire company.

‘She is now working with an employer who is delighted with her work ethic and has invited her back for more shifts.’

Justine says the impact of getting into paid employment is about more than financial stability. It gives a woman a sense of power and control over her own life, often for the first time.

‘Sometimes at the start of our contact with them, they have been so wounded by their experiences that they struggle to even make eye contact. There is a real glow, a blossoming of confidence when they get a job, and a real determination then to make it succeed.’

If you have a business would is looking for employees, contact Justine to see if one of the McAuley Works candidates is suitable for you.

To read more about McAuley Works, click here.