Scarf was established in 2010 to address the significant gap in access to employment for young people seeking protection and those from refugee or migrant backgrounds. Some of the barriers faced by this cohort pertain to a lack of skills and knowledge, and limited understanding of Australian work rights or what employers expect.

Other barriers, unfortunately, speak to the either unconscious or overt bias that many (though not all) employers hold towards those born overseas.

One of Scarf’s core aims is to break down these barriers and ensure trainees are as “job ready” as possible when they graduate from the Scarf 10-week program.

To Scarf, job readiness covers a number of aspects. Whilst our program is rooted in hospitality, we firmly believe the work skills developed during Scarf Dinners are transferable to multiple industries. During the program, trainees undertake skills training backed up by real, paid restaurant service experience, all under the supervision of Scarf’s ace volunteer mentor team. And of course, as skills grow, so does confidence, and greater confidence leads to greater employability! 

But practical skills alone do not lead to job readiness. Trainees often begin our program with limited knowledge of employment conventions in Australia. We address this by providing workshops which focus on ‘Work Rights and Responsibilities’, effective job searching and resume and interview skills – including a session where hospitality professionals conduct mock interviews with trainees and provide direct feedback and tips.

Mid-way through the 10-week program, each trainee completes a personalised ‘Job Readiness Assessment’ and are supported to address any gaps in their learning before graduating. And a decent chunk of our work involves advocating for fairer hiring practices in the hospitality and beyond, some of which is done by celebrating the incredible resilience, talents and achievements of Scarf graduates. 

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Check out 'Our Impact' > 'Graduate Q & A' to see what we mean!

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We’re a small organisation and we know we don’t hold quite enough influence to entirely eliminate all the employment barriers faced by Scarf trainees.

But we can (and do!) enable them to more confidently navigate the job market once they have graduated, giving them a solid chance at landing themselves in meaningful employment.

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Inset photos taken during the Spring Scarf '19 Job Readiness Workshop held at Worksmith Ella.
Gabrielle (from the Brotherhood of St Laurence) conducts the 'Work Rights in Australia' session, Scarf mentor Debbie focuses on HR and Scarf graduates Sanjay and Varsini share their experience of working beyond Scarf. 

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Cover photo from Autumn Scarf '19 at The Rochey. Photographer: Linsey Rendell