Mothers and other women who have faced long-term unemployment are gearing up to become automotive experts, thanks to a new partnership between Mission Australia and Audi Australia. The eight week Audi 'Women in Automotive' pilot program is now almost complete and will see nine women who are case managed at Bankstown Parents Next trained up with a Statement of Attainment and ready to enter the workforce upon their graduation.

"The program provides the opportunity for our Parents Next participants to learn skills which will equip them for employment and gives them the chance to get into a non-traditional industry for women," Program Manager Lucy Klianev said.

The partnership between Mission Australia and Audi is a logical fit. Audi identified a need to help women secure employment in a non-traditional role while our objective is to reduce employment barriers for Parents Next participants. The program addresses unemployment, as well as a lack of women working in the automotive field.

"Audi identified that only 2% of the global automotive workforce are female – and they want to include more women in their team. We think it's a fantastic opportunity to build the confidence, work skills and knowledge of the women we engage with at Parents Next," Lucy explained.

Each week to date, the participants have been required to attend two half-day theoretical classes at TAFE, where they've covered different units spanning from effective communication in the workplace, to complying with legal requirements in the automotive industry. On top of this, they receive on-the-ground experience at various Audi dealerships in the wider Sydney area. At the conclusion of the course, the women will be equipped with a range of skills – sales, knowledge of car parts, admin skills and call centre skills.

As for whether the women are enjoying the course, Lucy says they're all nearly experts already.

"They are getting so much out of the course. Their confidence has improved with a positive outlook for the future. A lot of the women see themselves as future salespeople in the automotive industry!" Lucy said.

With the first component of the course now complete, the women have been invited to continue their vocational placement at an Audi dealership for the remaining weeks. The participants will then have the opportunity to apply for a paid role within the company through the standard recruitment process.

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