Suncorp’s Community Café, in partnership with Wesley Mission and Darcy Street Project, is celebrating the achievements of 30 students who have completed a full or part Certificate II in Hospitality. Due to COVID-19 restrictions this year’s graduation ceremony was held virtually.
Students and guests connected virtually from home or the office to the Suncorp Discovery Store. Wesley Mission CEO, Keith Garner, acknowledged each student’s achievements and Darcy Street Project CEO and Founder, John Cafferatta treated guests to a virtual coffee tasting and sensory experience.
Each student spent time in the Suncorp Community Café to complete a full or part Certificate II in Hospitality. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the program remained open, giving the students hands-on experience in the skills needed to pursue a career in hospitality; such a making quality coffee and customer service.
Graduating student, Ayra Dipu, said the experience was more than just a training course. “It was an opportunity to interact with Suncorp customers. I feel like it is not just a cup of coffee, it’s a pathway in my life,” she said. “I can now work in a café or any restaurant as a barista, or even the hotel industry.”
As well as completing either a half or full Certificate II in Hospitality, students were given wrap around support, to help them feel confident in the workforce once leaving the program.
I feel like it is not just a cup of coffee, it’s a pathway in my life.Darcy Street Project student, Ayra Dipu
Suncorp Regional Manager, Geoff Birt, also took part in the virtual ceremony. “The camaraderie and friendships that I have seen form between the students and our team members in store, speaks to the tight-knit community you have created together. What’s most impressive is that our customers can feel this vibe when they are in store,” Mr Birt said.
In addition to providing our customers with quality coffee, Suncorp is
also committed to building the financial resilience and wellbeing of
Australians through our Financial Inclusion Action Plan. The Community Café enables us to bring this vision to life, by offering a pathway to education and employment, which plays an important role in improving financial wellbeing.
Since the Community Café’s inception in 2018, 83 incredible students have furthered their professional growth and employment opportunities. Many have come from disadvantaged backgrounds and encountered barriers to further education or employment.
Darcy Street Project Founder and CEO, John Cafferatta said the initiative at Suncorp’s Community Café has been invaluable over the past two years. “It provides a supportive environment for our students to learn and experience a real workplace,” he said. “Engaging with customers and Suncorp employees makes a big difference in their confidence and employment prospects. What started as a passion project has become something much more meaningful to the wider community.”
The Suncorp Community Café will welcome 32 students into the program in 2021. It serves free coffee to Suncorp customers inside the Discovery Store located at 197 Pitt Street in Sydney and is open Monday to Saturday.