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ERIC Number: ED505788
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Feb
Pages: 70
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Parents Returning to Work: Evaluation of Grant Recipient Outcomes 2004-05, 2005-06
Ferrier, Fran; Kellock, Peter; Burke, Gerald
Centre for the Economics of Education and Training, Monash University
The Parents Returning to Work Program (PRTW) is a Victorian government initiative which commenced in 2003. It provides grants to assist eligible parents who wish to return to paid employment after a period of caring for children to participate in training that will increase their work skills and job prospects. This evaluation aimed to review the achievements of the program and to identify whether it provided value for the money invested in it by the Victorian government. The evaluation included three major activities: (1) Data provided by the program administrator and obtained from other sources was analysed to provide background information about grant recipients, the regional distribution of grants and how recipients use grant funds; (2) Consultations were conducted with ten of the 377 providers registered under the program, selected to represent different types of providers in different locations; and (3) A telephone survey was conducted of over 280 grant recipients selected at random from a list provided by the program administrator. Reported findings include: (1) The program has been highly successful in assisting parents to prepare to return to work after being at home caring for their children; (2) Demand for PRTW grants continually exceeds supply, resulting in no need for extensive marketing of the program; and (3) The administrative systems that underpin the operation of the grant program appear to work well overall. Eleven recommendations for program improvement are offered: (1) Include some criteria of need in the allocation process; (2) Develop a targeted marketing strategy specifically aimed at increasing the number of grant recipients in regions where they are currently under-represented; (3) Consider allocation of a proportion of grants directly to providers through a quota system; (4) Instruct providers to use a direct line to contact the program administrator rather than the hotline service, to reduce pressure on the hotline and leave it free for the use of grant applicants and recipients; (5) Provide existing information about the program to stakeholder organizations be reviewed to determine if revisions are required to increase clarity and reduce misunderstandings; (6) Align online and paper application forms; (7) Prepare clear guidelines on what can and cannot be claimed and distributed to providers; (8) Expand existing data collection system to enable a closer monitoring of the program and its impacts, with an emphasis on providing improved evidence of program outcomes and the early signaling of any potential problems; (9) Explore methods for providing grant recipients with additional information advice and guidance to assist them in selecting a career and course, including information about job opportunities and associated training requirements and opportunities in their local area; (10) Include information about employment services to new grant recipients are given when they are awarded a grant; and (11) Encourage providers registered for the program to incorporate work experience and employment preparation within the programs they offer, especially programs developed specifically for parents seeking to return to work. Four appendices are included: (1) Providers Consulted for the Project; (2) Interview Schedule, Providers; (3) Survey Script; and (4) Total Grants to March 2006 by LGA and Selected Characteristics. (Contains 5 footnotes, 5 figures and 23 tables.)
Centre for the Economics of Education and Training. Available from: Monash University. Faculty of Education, Building 6, Monash University, Victoria 3800 Australia. Tel: +61-3-9905-9157; Fax: +61-3-9905-9184; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Monash University, Centre for the Economics of Education and Training
Identifiers - Location: Australia