Gladstone single mum struggles to feed son on the dole
AS A single mum Casey Goodman has to scrape the bottom of the barrel every week to make ends meet.
As of last month Ms Goodman, 25, started working for the dole so the payments from Centrelink she relies upon to feed her eight-year-old son do not get cut off.
"My top priority has been raising my son," Ms Goodman said.
"Trying to find a job as a single mum that fits in with school hours [isn't easy]."
Growing up, Ms Goodman wanted to be a painter or carpenter but with "no one hiring" she hasn't found anyone willing to offer her a job.
She now works 15 hours a week at PCYC in administration and has started a diploma in business administration.
"I'm getting work experience which is good and at PCYC I could go from administration to childcare and further my experience that way," she said.
"I'm happy going to PCYC because the staff are very friendly, easy going and they understand my situation.
"Given the opportunity I would love to work at PCYC," she said.
But it's not all rosy for Ms Goodman who has found it at times stressful having to fit in raising her son and meeting Centrelink's requirement to work for the dole.
"If I don't complete my set hours I'll lose my Centrelink and won't be able to afford living costs for me and my son," she said.
"It does feel that way [having a gun to my head] because we get an extra $20 extra for doing it but I'm spending more than that on petrol for the car.
"Still it is worth it for the experience…and I don't like sitting around at home," she said.
The work for the dole program started last July and is available to all job seekers aged 18 to 49 and is designed to help people search for skills and find employment.
MAX solutions Work for the Dole co-ordinator Jose Sibley said it was great to see the variety of activities available to Gladstone jobseekers.
"Work for the Dole activities are created to align with in-demand skills in the area, ensuring job seekers gain valuable skills to increase their chances of employment," Ms Sibley said.