Jesuit Community College’s Ready Set Work course gave Sarah a kick-start in hospitality, writes KATHRYN KERNOHAN.

Young woman with shaved head making coffee in cafe.

Jesuit Community College helps young people like Sarah become work-ready.
Note: image has been changed to protect privacy.

Sarah’s story is one familiar to thousands of young people across the country.

After completing school in 2013, Sarah began applying for jobs anywhere she could, including the fast food, customer service and hospitality industries.

“I was never getting call backs and the only time I would get emails would be to tell me I didn’t get the job. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong and it made me feel like every door was closed to me,” recalls the 21-year-old.

Sarah has experienced depression and anxiety and says the struggle looking for employment exacerbated these issues.

Her life changed when her stepmother referred her to Jesuit Community College, our registered training organisation that equips people with skills for life, learning and work.

Sarah enrolled in a month-long Ready Set Work course which helps students prepare to work in a cafe – learning everything from performing in job interviews to customer service and barista skills.

Each morning, Sarah would leave home in Frankston at 5.30am to catch a train and a tram to the College, arriving before the doors had opened to avoid being late to class.

“I really felt like it was a great opportunity to get my foot in the door and help me improve my life, after I was trying really hard to find work already.”

At the end of the course, staff at Jesuit Community College helped Sarah to secure an interview with a Starbucks store in Melbourne’s CBD.

“I thought my hands would be shaking but because the College had helped me prepare so well, it didn’t feel as daunting. When they called me a few days later to let me know I had the job, it was amazing.”

Sarah has worked at Starbucks since late 2016 and says the job has developed her skills and her confidence.

“Work is awesome, my co-workers are supportive and we help each other out. I love being there and interacting with customers.”

Sarah was recently awarded $1,000 from the Rotary Club of Camberwell in acknowledgement of the adversity she has overcome to thrive. She will put the money towards saving for a car, to improve future work opportunities.

“I don’t know where I would be without Jesuit Community College, but I certainly wouldn’t be here.”