Many Scarf trainees have extensive and complex trauma histories, and present with significant psychosocial issues. Trainees have often experienced trauma as a result of war, persecution or other human rights abuses.

As such, Scarf recognises the importance of using a trauma-informed approach to ensure we are providing a safe and supportive environment where trainees can thrive.


In practice, this involves Scarf ensuring that all staff, mentors and volunteers are ‘Trauma Aware’.

In early 2019, Mae Vincent (our Wellbeing and Job Readiness Manager at the time) ran a workshop for staff and volunteers which covered lots of information about trauma and its impacts on learning. The workshop allowed us to engage in group exercises to better understand how trauma can manifest itself, and how to respond sensitively to young people who may have experienced trauma. As a group, the Scarf staff and volunteers came up with a ‘Trauma-Informed Framework’ for use during training sessions and Scarf Dinners, to ensure that Scarf is a safe place of learning for all.

All volunteer mentors who come on board at Scarf engage in a thorough pre-program induction which covers Scarf’s trauma-informed approach to training and mentoring and includes multiple group activities to explore and understand the content. Mentors are supported by Scarf staff throughout the program in how to contribute to Scarf’s trauma-informed culture.   

The wellbeing of our trainees is central to everything we do at Scarf. We understand that trauma can impact significantly on individual’s capacity to concentrate, to learn new tasks and to form trusting relationships. Each trainee is allocated a Wellbeing Worker, who regularly checks in with trainees to ensure that they are feeling safe and supported. Wellbeing Workers also liaise regularly with the hospitality mentors to make sure that trainees’ needs are being met in a trauma-sensitive way, and that any issues with their learning are understood and addressed with a trauma perspective in mind.

We want all trainees to reach their potential and to become as job-ready as possible, but with their safety and security always coming first. 



Photos from Scarf's 2019 Trauma workshop, which helped improve our volunteer and staff resources and induction materials.
See Scarf's Trauma-Informed Framework.



Cover Photo: Napkin folding at Scarf Dinners. Photographer: Peter Tarasiuk