Ladder Step Up Latrobe Valley commenced their first program session at Morwell Neighbourhood House in early 2020 and the program has been involved in a range of fun and meaningful activities ever since.

Morwell Neighbourhood House has engaged in a social enterprise called "A Kinder Cup" cafe and it provides opportunities for people in the community, who have faced all sorts of barriers, to gain some valuable on-the-job work and life experience.

We were fortunate enough to have Alumni member Simone successfully commence a traineeship with A Kinder Cup. We sat down with Simone and asked her a few questions about her experience so far.

What made you apply for the Traineeship?

I felt like it'd be a good opportunity to learn some new skills and meet new people. It's also a good way to gain experience that may help me in the future.

What was the process in getting the Traineeship?

I was first contacted by Ashlea and Chris from the Ladder Program about an opportunity for a Traineeship at a cafe, which I said I would be interested in.

I was then contacted by Tracie, the Manager of Morwell Neighbourhood House who is one of the people in charge of A Kinder Cup, and we set up a time for me to go to the cafe to speak to her. We went over basic details about the Traineeship and what working at the cafe would entail, and I did a trial run where I worked at the cafe for two days before making a decision about the Traineeship.

I decided to go ahead with it, and we then sorted out details for the Traineeship paperwork, and I returned the next week to continue working at the cafe.

What was your first day like and how were you feeling?

I felt rather anxious on my first day at the cafe, but the staff and customers of A Kinder Cup were all really nice and understanding, and I now look forward to going to the cafe and seeing them all.

What does a typical day look like for you at the coffee shop?

We start the day by preparing food to be displayed and sold, collecting and organising supply deliveries, and making sure everything is ready for customers to begin entering the store.

We typically have a rush or two in the mornings and around mid-day, when a bunch of customers will arrive at once to get food and drinks before work or on their breaks. Other than that we have a few regulars that show up throughout the day, and new people are always popping up as the cafe becomes more well known in the area.

Some days will involve us providing catering for events, or having events take place within the cafe (such as meetings, get-togethers, or fundraising events). Those days are the busiest but more interesting.

What skills have you learned along the way?

I've learned how to operate the equipment that we have at the cafe, including a Merrychef, the register, the coffee bean hopper, and the coffee machine. I'm also learning customer service skills and food preparation skills.

What's the best thing about the Traineeship?

It's a good way to learn in an environment that isn't stressful or overwhelming, and it's fun to meet all the different people that are involved with the cafe, whether they're customers or people that contribute to the cafe itself. It's all very interesting to be part of.

How has the Step Up Latrobe Valley program helped you get to where you are now?

The Step Up Latrobe Valley program provided useful information about job readiness during my time there, and they helped me increase my confidence in order to be more assured about the things I do. I still remember a lot of what I learned while participating in the program, and it not only helps me with work and community engagement opportunities, but it also helps me remember to take care of myself so that I can continue doing the things I enjoy, such as the Traineeship.

Being involved with A Kinder Cup is a good feeling, because the cafe is a peaceful environment and it's clear that the people working there care about the cafe and it's role in the community. I'm also thankful to the Ladder Program for being such a positive thing in my life, and for continuing to provide me with opportunities even after I finished the program.

We are so proud of Simone and look forward to supporting her throughout this traineeship and beyond.