Today, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs, Senator Zed Seselja launched SSI newest social enterprise – Food for Thought in Campsie, NSW.
Food for Thought is a food truck that has been custom built to provide refugee job seekers with hands on practical training ground for career pathways into food, commercial cookery, hospitality and retail.
“The biggest challenge for refugees to gain work is the lack of local work experience and referees” said CEO Violet Roumeliotis
“We want to harness people’s passion for food and culture and provide a safe and supportive training ground for refugees to build their skills, confidence and gain valuable work experience so they are job ready and familiar with the expectations of working in an Australian environment.”
Food for Thought is the newest addition to SSI’s social enterprise portfolio which includes;
• The Staples Bag, which provides affordable groceries in a supermarket environment to build skills in retail, warehousing, distribution and packaging, marketing and sales;
• The Experience Centre, which simulates an office environment for the development of professional skills in a fast-paced business-like environment. Through Industry mentors and customised training offers pathways in HR, marketing, finance, events, administration, engineering, architecture, and planning;
• Humble Creatives is a handmade scented candles enterprise, using 100% Australian soy wax. Participants acquire skills to work in a commercial production and retail environment. It also has an online sales platform increasing digital literacy and tech sales skills; and
• Cater Connect, an initiative that provides work experience in a new, large commercial kitchen premises at Granville preparing fresh and frozen meals, daily lunch preparation and catering to SSI and affiliates.
Already SSI has supported over 1500 people who have gained invaluable work experience and on the job training through SSI’s innovative range of simulated learning environments over the last 12 months.
Food for Thought: Eat, Share, Change offers more than just career pathways to build skills, confidence and local industry knowledge but it presents a unique sensory experience that highlights the cuisine, culture and people of diverse countries.
“The food truck provides a portable platform to showcase and demonstrate the skills, capabilities and employability of refugees and migrants, across the state directly to potential employers and businesses and will help build social cohesion by celebrating our diversity,” Ms Roumeliotis said.
The food truck will start by featuring cuisines from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, India, Armenia, Palestine, Pakistan, Burma, Tibet, and Sri Lanka.
“SSI’s innovative approach to increasing the employability of refugees in Sydney will help them use their professional or trade skills and qualifications and meet skill shortages in areas such as commercial cookery.”
“The Federal government’s recent investment in the Career Pathways Pilot in Sydney and 5 other sites across Australia, recognises that new arrivals represent an untapped economic potential to in the Australian labour market,” Minister Seselja said.
For more of the action from the Food for thought launch event, check out our Facebook gallery.