Education and Employment Program


The Sagarmatha Education Centre was officially opened in November 2006, as the location of the Education and Employment Program.  Due to the great success of the program, and the resultant need for more space, the Batley Employment Centre was opened in October 2009.  Both centres rely heavily on the financial generosity of the community to operate.

Sagarmatha was established as a result of the great generosity of the South Australian community, through their financial and in-kind support of the 2004 Mt. Everest Appeal. Sagarmatha is the Nepalese name for Mt. Everest; it means 'Goddess of the Universe'.

The Centre offers a range of varied recreational, skill development, educational and job preparation courses each week. The critical aim of the Centre is to 'educate women out of homelessness' through participation in the on-site courses offered, courses that lay down critical pathways into further education, jobs and volunteering. 

The Education and Employment Program has a director (appointed 16 July 2012) and four staff experienced in adult education principles and practice.   Since its inception Sagarmatha has been highly successful in encouraging clients to believe in the potential of a better future, and gives them the opportunity to make it a reality.   The positive environment that the Centre exudes encourages women to take healthy 'risks', try something new, build confidence and self-belief and move forward in life.

The Program has received much recognition for its highly successful approach to helping women re-imagine and claim a better life for themselves and for their family - through easy access to well-structured and relevant educational courses.  The curriculum offers 13 courses a week, it has 240 women who regularly use the centre and has around 5,000 attendances each year.

A very encouraging aspect of this work has been the very pertinent 'flow-on' benefits to the children of the clients we work with, as most of the women we work with are mothers. Children feel very proud when their mother has succeeded in advancing her education and/or has gained a job. It allows children to 're-imagine' the benefits of education and the inherent value of working, and mothers are able to confirm this by what they have achieved. A wonderful 'ripple-effect'!

Another key element in the education and employment success story has been our No Barriers Program. As the name suggests, we believe in strategically addressing any barriers to jobs that might exist, for example:

  • Working Wardrobe – women choose clothes for an interview/first two weeks at work.
  • Dental Program – Health Partners and one other dentist provide free dental treatment for women. This program is vital in building self-image and giving women the freedom to smile. 
  • Ophthalmic Program – Health Partners again has been wonderful in providing eye tests and glasses free of charge to women.   Health Partners has been a most willing and generous partner of our education and employment program.
  • Adelaide Plastic Surgery Associates (APSA) - has generously agreed to remove tatoos and scars that are impeding a woman's ability to have in her life - particularly in relation to accessing a job.

The work of the Program has been central to the development of the WorkNext fee-for-service Job Placement Service that was officially launched Thursday 29 September 2011. The genesis for the new Social Business is to get more women into more jobs - further our drive to 'solve women's homelessness' through access to employment.  

The new venture will 'break the glass ceiling' for women who have experienced homelessness in their lives. It will take their story to a whole new level, as it will create a par for them in the job marketplace. It will    demonstrate that they are equal to other job candidates by winning a position on merit, and in being able to command a fee in the same way that other candidates can when applying for a job through a recruitment agency. The recruitment fee charged by Catherine House will in fact be a 'reverse investment' opportunity for the company engaging the candidate, as it will go back into WorkNext to pay for another woman to get job-ready. A win-win for all!

If you would like to be a funding partner of this program we invite you to complete the Donations Form.