Parents Next, run by Uniting SA in Murray Bridge, helps mums, dads return to work

Parents who want to return to work will benefit from a new program based out of a villa on McHenry Street, Murray Bridge.

Parents Next is federally funded and run locally by Uniting SA.

Its aim is to help participants, referred through Centrelink – typically young parents who never finished high school, or parents in jobless families – prepare for employment by the time their youngest child starts school.

The federal government hopes to help 68,000 parents per year.

Local participant Reginald Newchurch, a father of two, said he had been out of work since his eldest child was born.

"I've done a few courses in horticulture and stuff like that, but never really went on," he said.

Since his referral to Parents Next, his young daughter had started kindy, and he hoped to begin working towards employment as a mechanic or doing woodwork.

Jobs and Employment Minister Michaelia Cash and Member for Barker Tony Pasin heard his story during a visit to the site on Wednesday morning.

Ms Cash was excited to see Parents Next being rolled out after an earlier trial in the Playford council district in Adelaide.

"For people like Reg, knowing his child is safe and being taken care of just frees him up," she said, expressing her hope he would soon find work.

Only three other participants have been referred to the program in Murray Bridge since it began on July 2, but staff hope more will soon be on their way.

The villa houses offices, a study space, a kids' playroom, a kitchen and a dining room under the one roof, so parents do not have to worry about childcare whenever they have an appointment.

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