This program funds NSW organisations to implement projects that support women from focus communities who are experiencing persistent barriers to employment.
Applications for the 2024 Return to Work Pathways Program are now open!
- Status: Closed
- Grant amount: From $100,000 to $250,000
- Application opened: 1 March 2023
- Application closed: 11 April 2023, 11:59 pm
The aim of the Return to Work Pathways Program is to reduce barriers for women wanting to enter or re-enter the workforce.
The program will address the needs of women experiencing complex and persistent barriers to employment.
It will fund a variety of bespoke and tailored projects, to provide wraparound supports including training, mentoring and pathways to employment.
Projects will be targeted to focus communities, responding to their specific needs, life stages and circumstances.
This program is funded and administered by Women NSW.
Who can apply
Applicants must be a legally constituted Australian-based entity. This includes:
- not-for-profit organisations, including community organisations
- industry bodies and the private sector working in partnership with the community or government on projects directly supporting women and girls
- local councils and shires, including regional organisations of councils and consortia of councils.
- social enterprises, defined as a business that trades primarily for a defined social purpose consistent with a public and/or community benefit
Not-for-profit bodies are organisations that are registered and approved as not-for-profit bodies by NSW Fair Trading, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) or Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC). They can include:
- charities, trusts, and cooperatives that are registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC)
- organisations with Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) or Public Benevolent Institution status
- not-for-profit companies limited by guarantee and registered in NSW (these must have ACNC registration and or DGR status)
- associations (registered under the Associations Incorporation Act 2009 and with NSW Fair Trading)
- Local Aboriginal Land Councils
- religious organisations
- organisations established under an Act of Parliament.
Note: Organisations listed on the ACNC Register must have a current and up to date record.
An application must be made by a single organisation that will accept responsibility for the delivery of the project if the application is successful.
Section 355 committees must submit applications under the relevant local council name.
Who can’t apply
Funding will not be provided to:
- individuals or groups of individuals
- unincorporated organisations
- for profit organisations
- sub-contractors – either for program management or for project delivery on behalf of non-eligible organisations
- NSW Government or Australian Government agencies or their entities.
Types of projects funded under this grant
The NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet will fund multiple projects, with total funding of $2.7 million.
Funding for projects will vary within the range of $100,000 - $250,000 depending on the project model, the number of participants to be supported, and the level and intensity of services and supports provided to participants.
The Return to Work Pathways Program will fund a variety of models and funding will vary according to the proposed model and corresponding extent of services to be provided, in response to focus communities’ needs.
Projects should provide a model delivering some or all the following components. Supports can include, but are not limited to the following:
- Tailored wraparound supports - Supported referrals to services, career coaching and guidance, other activities, and programs to build confidence. Time-limited support following participant’s employment.
- Mentoring - Provide mentoring using a suitable mentoring model, this may include peer and volunteer mentoring.
- Training - Provide appropriate training programs in a variety of formats responding to participants needs. Supported referral to other training and education options as required.
- Work readiness - Pre-employment training, work readiness skills training and coaching to build participant’s capability and confidence.
- Pathways to employment - Facilitated employment opportunities using models such as work experience, job placement, paid traineeships and other programs that offer established pipelines to employment.
- Engagement of employers - Partnering with employers to facilitate employment options for participants and for employers to create supportive environments.
Projects funded under this grant program complement the RTWP administered by Service NSW. Organisations funded under the Return to Work Pathways Program will be required to assist women to access the RTWP.
The target group for the program is women who face enduring and complex barriers to enter or re-enter the workforce.
In addition, projects that specifically target and support one of the following focus communities of women will be prioritised.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls
- women and girls from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities
- women of diverse sexualities and genders including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer and/or asexual (LGBTIQA+)
- women and girls with disability
- women and girls living in regional, rural and remote areas
- women and girls who have a history of, or are currently experiencing domestic, family or sexual violence
- women and girls experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage
- women and girls facing homelessness
- older women
- young women (18-24 years)
- women veterans
- women and girls in contact with the criminal justice system
- girls and young women living in or who have lived in out of home care.
Only one application for funding will be accepted per organisation per project.
Most recent recipients
What your application needs to include
You can download the complete guidelines for applicants:
FileReturn To Work Pathways Program Guidelines (PDF 259.16KB)
You will need to address the eligibility criteria and required documentation and summit it via the SmartyGrants portal (see below).
Prepare your application with this checklist
Make sure you have the following items at hand before you start your application:
- proof of legal status as a not-for-profit organisation or a Section 355 committee under the Local Government Act 1993
- relevant insurance documentation, including a valid Certificate of Currency for Public Liability Insurance with a minimum cover of $5 million in the name of the applicant
- evidence of income from other sources, including cash and in-kind.
Address the eligibility criteria
You need to show that:
- you meet the applicant's legal status requirements
- you have appropriate and current insurance in relation to the proposed project
- you have no outstanding acquittals due to the Department of Premier and Cabinet
- you are not seeking funding for activities already completed, or due to be completed before the funding period commences
- you do not already receive NSW Government funding for the project
- 10 per cent of the project's income is from other sources (cash or in-kind).
Address the assessment criteria
Your project must meet the eligibility criteria.
Relevant and evidence-based
Your project must:
- clearly outline how the proposed project will deliver RTW PP outcomes
- have a clear and well-refined problem statement, that identifies the needs of the nominated focus communities of women that will be addressed through your project
- clearly outline how the project approach and service delivery model are supported by evidence or leading practice
- provide a relevant, feasible and evidence-based proposal for how the project will respond to the needs of women experiencing complex barriers to employment
- demonstrate experience in supporting women and/or focus communities of women and the employment sector.
Effective service delivery model
Your project must:
- have a well-developed service delivery model for the nominated focus community(ies)
- set out the types, level, and intensity of supports to be provided to participants and provides a rationale and costings for the model
- outline identifiable outcomes and how they will be measured and evaluated
- have an evaluation strategy with clear metrics for measuring success in achieving identified program outcomes.
Project partnerships and engagement
Your project must:
- outline the partnerships and community engagement required to support the project, and clearly outline partner contributions
- demonstrate effective collaboration, partnerships and referral pathways with relevant services and community organisations
- demonstrate an approach or framework to establish and manage partnerships with employers and businesses
- demonstrate well-established connections with the nominated focus community.
Clear project plan and outcomes
You must provide a clear project plan for delivering the project.
The project must demonstrate:
- specific timeframes/milestones for each activity/task
- clearly defined outcomes.
- demonstrate that your organisation has the appropriate skills and expertise to deliver the project, including prior experience delivering similar project activities and outcomes
- demonstrate capacity to provide ongoing value beyond the funding provided under the Return to Work Pathways Program.
Value for money
- Projects must represent value for money in terms of both overall costs, and the value of the outcomes and benefits that will be delivered.
- The proposal must outline how many women will benefit from the project and how the proposed service model represents value for money.
- Applications will receive a higher score for this criterion if your project delivers a benefit to a greater number of women compared to a project with similar delivery costs, that provides a similar level of benefit, but to a smaller number of women.
- Recognition of women with complex needs: Higher cost models for women with complex needs should be clearly outlined and costed, including evidence that supports the model.
Start the application
After the application is submitted
Successful applications will be decided by: NSW Minister for Women
You will receive an automated email via the SmartyGrants portal when Women NSW receives your application.
Both successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified of the assessment outcomes.
Assessment and project announcement dates
- Wednesday 1 March 2023 – Grant applications open
- Tuesday 11 April 2023 (11:59pm AEST) – Grant applications close
- May 2023 – Notification of outcome to all applicants
- May / June 2023 – Contracting with successful applicants
- May / June 2023 – Public announcement of grant recipients and feedback to all applicants
- Mid June 2023 – Project implementation period commences