Which Scarf program did you take part in?

Winter Scarf ‘16 at Rupert on Rupert. 

Which country were you born in?

Pakistan.

How did you hear about Scarf and why did you apply for the program?

I heard about it through Red Cross. Scarf was an opportunity to learn and to gain experience, and leading to possible employment at the end.

Before you applied for Scarf, what was your experience of job-hunting?

It was very difficult to find a job when your previous experience wasn't seen to be of value. There was an impression that employers were looking for people with local experience so it makes it hard to get into the workforce without someone giving you an opportunity in the first place. I was looking for a job for nearly two years. 

After a number of rejections, it is very disheartening and you start to question your worth. It is hard without someone helping you or showing you how to break into the workforce. It is also hard when you don't have the full rights to work, and employers were reluctant to take on people with specific visa conditions. There is a stigma attached to employing refugees and asylum seekers.

Was the Scarf program what you expected? Or were there parts of it that surprised you? If so, why?

I had expectations that it would give me experience in hospitality and help me make some connections in the sector. It fulfilled my expectations in that regard. It surprised me how well connected that Scarf is to the Melbourne hospitality family.

What was the most valuable thing you got from participating in Scarf?

The mentoring that I had received. I learnt a lot and appreciated that mentors were so open in sharing their knowledge and experience.

Mir working as a graduate at Do More Than Dine '17. Photo: Gareth Sobey.

Do you think working with a mentor is a positive thing? If so, why?

Yes, mentors had opened my eyes to the real world of working in hospitality. They were transparent in sharing their expertise and experiences, so that I was fully prepared. They were also very patient in answering any questions that I had and I felt supported throughout the program. It is very important that the right mentors are selected in the Scarf program as they underpin its success. The relationships between mentors and trainees are so critical.

Did the Scarf program help to increase your confidence? If so, why?

Yes, I learnt a lot of practical skills and was given the opportunity to apply them. I also enjoyed the concept of Scarf Dinners as it provided real life experience with customers. I still apply a lot of the skills that I learnt in my role today.

Tell us about the first job you got after you finished Scarf. 

Within a week of finishing Scarf and through the networks of a Scarf mentor, I got a job as a waiter at Jimmy Watson's Wine Bar. Within a few weeks I became the front-of-house manager. 

Chatting with Scarf Ambassador Matt Preston at Do More Than Dine '17. Photo: Gareth Sobey

Tell us what you liked about this job?

Given the opportunity to learn about the Jimmy Watson's institution and wine selection, and increasing my knowledge in wines and F&B in general.

Are you working right now? 

Yes, I’m working at Super Ling, Carlton. I have been running the Front of House there since August 2018.

Do you have any words of advice for other young people who are interested in participating in Scarf?

Apply! You gain so much through the program and it's an awesome opportunity which opens many doors. It provides hands on experience and skills that you will use for many years to come.

.

Mir and Scarf Co-Founder Hannah speak at GROW Assembly 2018

Portrait Photo: Samee Lapham