For many people, the prospect of acquiring a new set of skills to break into the workforce or change careers can be incredibly daunting.

Jesuit Community College Trainer Bradley Lark says tailoring the training provided through the Café Operations course to the specific needs and skill level of its learners makes a huge difference to their experience.

We find out where the participant wants to head and what their interests are. Then we develop a program for them over a six-month period. We find that is a lot more engaging than just washing dishes and sweeping floors.

Bradley Lark


For Café Operations participant Darcy, the hands-on experience offered as part of the training is a highlight. “I was expecting the course to be hands-on, but not this hands-on. That’s one of the things I’ve most enjoyed. In a lot of courses you have to do all the prep work before you get into the hands-on stuff. But we’re trusted to get behind the counter and actually give things a go. I’ve learned a lot about redefining my craft and better ways that I can put myself out there when customers come in.”

Liam says the Cafe Operations training was "the kind of course that I needed at this point in my life".

As a result of struggles with his schooling, Liam was apprehensive about participating in the course. These concerns were quickly dispelled. “I came into the course thinking education can’t be that pleasant, but somehow they managed to make it pretty decent, made me want to keep coming, which was quite the opposite of school. It’s easy to just come and if you put your head down and do the work, then you’ll pass the course. I appreciate that. It’s the kind of course that I needed at this point in my life.”

Brad, who also manages our Ignite Cafe in Camberwell, says that in addition to the hands-on skills, the training provides the accredited certificates participants need to find work in the competitive hospitality industry. “In this course, we’re delivering Work Health and Safety, Food Safety and the

Responsible Service of Alcohol, which is a really good set of certificates to have for anyone looking for entry level employment into hospitality. They also learn how to work with others within a commercial environment.”

Liam says that the training has made a dramatic change to his outlook. “I have developed skills like it’s nobody’s business. I almost had no skills when I came into this, I had never done anything to do with coffee, I made instant.

“I’m looking forward to getting a job a couple of nights a week, so I can start getting my own money so I’m able to do my own things and not rely on family members to always be shelling out cash.

“It’s gratifying to be able to hand someone a coffee and say, ‘Hey, here’s your latte, mate. And I just made it.’ You know, it’s pretty cool. It’s pretty, pretty cool.”