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Young people Load Up on Hospitality Skills

A team of young people have joined forces with local community organisations to kickstart their careers as part of Youth Take Over Loddon Campaspe (YTO), culminating in a pop-up cafe "Loaded Cafe" at Kyneton Community House last week.

With a focus on what makes good customer service, ten young people from across central Victoria have spent the last three months learning about all facets of the Hospitality Industry.

Their first task was to head down High Street in Kyneton to visit local cafes and lunch spots to record what good customer service looks like.

Krissy, one of the interns and a Bendigo local, said the immersive experience was astonishing – we had so much fun trying out cafes, and it helped us think about what we want our cafe to be like.

"Working with others was a great experience to learn how to communicate and bring ourselves together and work as a team," she said.

The interns found that good customer service starts with feeling welcomed and attended to, and all of the interns noted how important it is to greet customers with a smile.

Guided by Project Coordinator at Kyneton Community House, Alex Graham, the interns gained food handling and safety training, menu planning, cafe design and customer service skills.

Then, it was time to use their findings at other cafes as a launch point to design their own pop-up cafe and put all their skills into practice.

Alex was impressed by the interns’ ideas – they wanted to be a point of difference and not compete with local businesses, which is how they landed on the 'Loaded' and 'classic diner' theme for their cafe.

Customers agreed a menu like theirs would be a great addition to Kyneton's lunchtime food scene, as one customer said, "I wish this was every week!"

Kyneton Community House Director Claire Rawlinson said that one of the benefits for the host organisation is that they get to see their business from a Youth perspective, which can help them engage young people.

"Working with this group of young people has really seen fresh ideas and wonderful food hit the tables in the KCH Good Food Hub. Their 'Loaded' cafe has offered us a contemporary menu that we could potentially see working on a regular basis into the future," she said.

Before the pop-up cafe day, the young people gained additional hands-on training from Sue-Lee and Josh at The Social Foundry, who took the interns through a barista course and front-of-house skills.

"It's been so fun to watch all the interns grow. From when I met them nine weeks ago until now, there has been a change in their faces and the way they carry themselves," Sue-Lee said.

Speaking at the event, YTO Project Director Ryan Hale said that what makes Take Overs special is that young people enter the workforce as a group, which can bring down the barriers some young people feel about starting their careers or entering a new work environment on their own.

"While this Take Over focused on teaching workplace-ready hospitality skills, participants have also improved their ability to work in a team, manage projects and communicate effectively, which are all skills they can use in other industries," he said.

"I think it was fantastic, everyone was very happy, everyone was communicating, and I'm very happy with how the day went," said Kayla, one of the interns at the end of their YTO experience.

"Overall, it was really great, there were a few little things, but we just got through it and worked so well together, and I think we should just all be so proud of what we achieved together," said intern Leia.

"We would like to thank our mentors, facilitators and trainers from Central Ranges LLEN, Kyneton Community House and The Social Foundry for giving your time and energy to us young people," Leia said.

"Together, we learnt all the customer service, kitchen, barista and front-of-house skills that made today possible," she said.

The team from Loaded Cafe would like to thank the wonderful sponsors that made this project possible, including the Agnico Eagle Community Partnership Program, Daylesford Macedon Tourism and Engage!

Every young person benefits from work experience, so if you know someone ready for the 'next step' on their career adventure, head to to learn more.

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