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Scarf trainees pose behind a brightly coloured street art

The social enterprise helping young people thrive

March 25, 2024
January 14, 2019

Social enterprise Scarf provides young people with hands-on experience and individual mentoring to help develop their skills and confidence to obtain real jobs in the hospitality industry. They do this in a space where creativity thrives, individuality reigns and high fives are just part of the process.

The trainees get real knowledge from industry mentors in a 10-week training program with sessions placed in hospitality hotspots. Trainees then serve real diners at some of Melbourne’s top dining establishments such as - Higher Ground, Stomping Ground Beer Hall, and Auction Rooms. Trainees earn an award wage for these dinners and have on-the-spot support from hospitality mentors who volunteer their time to share their skills with passion as well as access to social workers.  

Post program, every trainee is provided with one-on-one employment mentoring support in order to further increase their chances of finding ongoing work in the hospitality industry. And it works.

Scarf’s last three Dinners seasons, which saw 22 out of 24 trainees graduate and of the 22 graduates, 15 are now in current employment. To date, Scarf has seen 208 young people graduate and 70% of graduates find work within six months of finishing the program.

The participants in this program included young people seeking protection and some of those are from a refugee and migrant background. They have faced complex barriers to finding work including: lack of local work experience, English as a second or third language, mental health issues due to trauma backgrounds, lack of knowledge of employment pathways in Australia, discrimination due to diverse cultural background, and a lack of confidence due to breaks in education or employment.

Hayuran, Winter Scarf ‘17 graduate, who now working at Chilli and Chive restaurant and Keg King said: “My favourite part of Scarf was serving customers, learning about wine and coffee. The things which helped the most were bar training, wine knowledge and self-confidence.”

Bank Australia is proud to support the Scarf through our Impact Fund customer grants program. As part of our commitment to responsible banking, we invest 4% of our after-tax profits in initiatives that benefit people and the planet. The next Scarf Dinner program will commence in Melbourne in March 2019. For more info:

Image of staff and volunteers, supplied by Scarf

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