We believe that hospitality can transform lives.

We knew heaps of young people hungry for hospitality jobs but facing barriers to getting them. We brought them together with mentors keen to share knowledge and networks, then mixed in sponsors and restaurants ready to create a new kind of dining experience.

We created the first Scarf Dinners season. It was a recipe for success.

Now Scarf pops up in a new Melbourne restaurant every season. Young people get hands-on experience and real confidence to get real industry jobs. They do it in a space where creativity thrives, individuality reigns and high fives are just part of the process.

Diners love seeing the training and mentoring in action, love being part of something much bigger, and love the moveable feast that is Scarf.

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Why did Scarf start?

Whilst working in hospitality and volunteering with the refugee community in 2009 - 2010, Scarf co-founders Hannah Colman and Jess Moran observed firsthand how hard it can be for newly arrived young people to find jobs. We were meeting heaps of amazing, resilient and determined young people from refugee backgrounds who just wanted to get a job. But they couldn't even get a foot in the door. This made us angry - these young people were keen and willing to learn and they had a great attitude - qualities that we knew our own employers were looking for - but no-one would even give them an interview, let alone a trial. 

We started looking at research and learned that unemployment rates amongst humanitarian migrants can be staggeringly high – up to 43%. More research revealed that people seeking protection, and those from refugee and migrant backgrounds face significant barriers to employment including limited English, lack of Australian work experience and local references, impacts of past trauma on health and wellbeing, low confidence and discrimination.

We became determined to change that statistic and to break down those barriers. We were angry at the injustice but hopeful that change was possible. In September 2010, Scarf was founded with the support of a bunch of generous hospitality workers and businesses who believed, as we did, that things could be better.

Our first program was the Scarf Pilot Program in Spring 2010. We had eight trainees partake, and within three months of graduating, seven of them were in meaningful employment. 2020 will mark Scarf's 10th year of operation, and in December 2019 our 243rd young person graduated from the program.  

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Learn more about Scarf in this video, 'Inside 7 Years of Scarf', by Roger Ungers.

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Photo: Scarf Strategic Planning day '18. Photo: Linsey Rendell