A COOKING program has given at-risk youths the right ingredients for a job-ready future.
Christine Younan in the Meadows Primary School vegetable garden.
And those behind the project hope it can curb Hume’s high youth unemployment rate.
The Kitchen Academy Program — run by Glenroy-based Youth Projects — has provided 10 months of work experience to young people facing unemployment, homelessness or health issues.
In a partnership between Youth Projects, Meadows Primary School and Hume Global Learning Village members, the group prepared breakfast, morning tea and afternoon tea in the school’s kitchen and maintained its vegetable garden.
Youth Projects chief executive Melanie Raymond said the aim was to offer interesting and practical experience for young people who were feeling isolated.
Hume’s youth unemployment rates is one of the highest in the country at 17 per cent, compared with the national rate of 6 per cent.
“We’re going to have to work that much harder to find ways to help our young people into work, and locally-based practical programs are proving the key to success,” Ms Raymond said.
Participants receive training in food hygiene and preparation, as well as learning to work as a team, boost their self-confidence and build on communication skills, Ms Raymond said.
“The hospitality industry is a big employer of young people and these are foundation skills they can take into the job market.”
Participant Ben Cox said he learned new skills and was able to discover new recipes.
He is now looking for hands-on work at the docks or in a factory.
Others have gone on to find work in the hospitality industry.
“For an employer to see a young person has been a consistently good employee who is capable of working … (and) acquired skills and confidence to go into ongoing employment, that’s the biggest success,” Ms Raymond said.
The next intake of participants will be trained at Sunbury Heights Primary School.
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