Three local food businesses helping refugees find employment

Businesses of all sizes, nationally and internationally, are helping refugees in a variety of positive ways.  A little while back we highlighted some companies helping in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, this week we thought we’d showcase some Australian businesses helping refugees and asylum seekers in their communities to find employment, through offering training and jobs. Here’s three:

The Bread & Butter Project

If you’re a Sydneysider you may have tried the tasty bread made by artisan bakery The Bread & Butter Project. Sold at farmers and growers markets and select food outlets and used by a range of the city’s best cafes and restaurants, The Bread & Butter Project is a social enterprise created by Sydney institution The Bourke Street Bakery.

Each year The Bread & Butter Project provides up to 12 trainees a one-year paid TAFE accredited traineeship at the bakery. Trainees are generally referred on by agencies that offer refugee and asylum seeker support services and must meet criteria to be eligible to participate in the program. 100 per cent of the profits made are reinvested into baker training and creating employment opportunities for the city’s disadvantaged.

Parliament on King

A cosy cafe/bar on King Street in the Sydney suburb of Newtown, Parliament on King runs a hospitality training program for refugees known as The International Shift. Every Tuesday and Wednesday, cafe owners Ravi Parsad and his wife, Della, along with occasional volunteers, work with asylum seekers and refugees (referred to them by organisations like the nearby Asylum Seeker Centre) teaching them coffee making and food preparation skills to aid them in finding hospitality roles.

In addition to this, every Saturday evening between 6pm and 9pm the kitchen is handed over to the most talented of their trainees for Local Family Dinners. The trainees cook and serve dinner to patrons as part of this unique dining experience/social enterprise initiative.

Long Street Cafe

Another cafe lending refugees a hand in finding hospitality roles is Long Street Cafe on Little Hoddle Street in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond. The social enterprise cafe is the work of husband and wife Jane and Francois Marx, who opened the cafe with $30,000 of their own savings, a $10k grant from Australian Women’s Weekly, and money from a crowdfunding campaign. Their aim is to provide young refugees (who are referred to them by the likes of the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre) with employment – the only conditions being they are under 30, have conversational English and are interested (but not required to be experienced) in hospitality.

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