The Nourish Program is up and running in 2021 with OzHarvest welcoming new students in Sydney, Adelaide and — for the first time – Newcastle! About 35 young people have begun the 18-week journey toward getting their Certificate II in Kitchen Operations.
Nourish provides opportunities for at-risk youth aged 16–25 by furnishing them with a broad range of hospitality and employability skills. The program aims to go beyond training by creating hope, employment pathways and sustainable life changes.
Nourish Program Manager Belinda Woollett explained that the program was designed to provide students with the tools required to enter the workforce: “Besides the back-of-house kitchen training and front-of-house customer service skills required for the Certificate II, students also get the chance to be budding baristas during a three-week block of coffee training. By offering a broad skills base, we aim to boost their engagement and their employability.”
“We are so excited to be finally starting classes in Newcastle,’’ Belinda added. “COVID-19 disrupted our plans last year, but we are all set after securing a kitchen and a classroom. We also have access to a garden where food can be grown and composted. As well as having an outdoor space where they can get some air, the students will be getting their hands dirty!”
Nourish was able to expand to Newcastle thanks to a generous funder and our Outstanding Partner, Lendlease. This three-year partnership will fund the launch of Nourish Newcastle, while also supporting the program nationally.
Edmund McCombs, Head of Social Impact at Lendlease, said: “We are so happy to be able to support the Nourish Program, as it provides young people direct access to educational and employment pathways, while also providing Lendlease people the opportunity to support the work of OzHarvest through volunteering and food rescue efforts.”
“As a part of Lendlease’s commitment to create $250m of Social Value by 2025, we very much look forward to working alongside OzHarvest to ensure the Newcastle Nourish Program maintains the level of success of its Sydney and Adelaide counterparts.”
Since Nourish began in 2015, 165 young people have graduated with a formal qualification. Recent Adelaide graduate Jenna said she was a shy and nervous Year 11 student when she turned up on day one. “I found the atmosphere incredibly relaxed and the environment actually made you want to do the work as opposed to being forced to do it,’’ Jenna added. “I am so grateful to my classmates for supporting me and for my mother and teachers for getting me to do this course. It took a bit of pushing from them, which is an understatement, but it’s all been worth it!”
To learn more about Nourish, head to ozharvest.org/education/nourish