Australia – To-be mothers are putting on a lot of sacrifices for their upcoming families, and media agency in Australia, Initiative, aims to make this a lot more bearable by enhancing the time these women take away during maternity leaves. In honour of the upcoming International Women’s Day, Initiative has launched a new national program called ‘Maternity Masterclass’, to help parents return to work with more experience than when they left for parental leave. 

The program, which will start ahead of the International Women’s Day celebration, was developed after benchmarking Australian industry standards and having a close examination of what Initiative staff needed and wanted. Through this, Initiative will be funding accredited and remote learning programs for mums or dads on parental leave who choose to opt-in and enrol in courses such as a Mini MBA, a Behavioural Science course, or a mentorship training program, to enhance their skills and capabilities. 

‘Maternity Masterclass’ will be available to all employees taking primary parental leave for longer than six months and have been an employee of Initiative for more than 12 months. Financial contribution is also capped per year, and course options are limitless but must be accredited and relevant to enhancing the skills and capabilities of the individual, taken while the employee is on parental leave.

Erin Jakubans, Initiative’s chief people officer for Australia, noted that many parents feel an extended period of time away from the office can stall their careers, and while ‘Maternity Masterclass’ is definitely not for everyone, they want those who have the desire to study to be encouraged and helped to do so.

She further shared that innovative programs like ‘Maternity Masterclass’ are a wonderful way for employees taking parental leave to build their CVs and add additional skills to their repertoire.

“At Initiative, our parental leave policy and program like ‘Maternity Masterclass’ make us ‘amongst the best in the industry’ and are part of our commitment to ensure everyone has the chance to balance work and family life. Ultimately, we hope talent will see Initiative as a long-term career option that is supportive through all different phases of life. Maternity Masterclass helps revamp our talent retention and attraction goals,” said Jakubans.

Meanwhile, Melissa Fein, Initiative’s CEO for Australia, said that they are proud to support their employees through every phase of their careers, and they want to ensure that their people have every opportunity to balance work, family, and other responsibilities and have the option to increase their skillset even when on extended leave.

“‘Maternity Masterclass’ program is a welcome addition to Initiative’s industry-leading parental leave policy and is designed to help parents grow and thrive in their careers,” added Fein.

Just recently, Initiative has also launched its inaugural Marketing Multi for industry experts to test their marketing acumen against this year’s Super Bowl, a platform that encapsulates the zeitgeist of sports and popular culture.