Published On: 17 February 2021Categories: Stories

By Loaves and Fishes Tasmania general manager, Aaron Kropf.

Trainee interviews: Paul O’Rourke.

A unique traineeship scheme is enabling those who need a break to deliver food and hope to others.

We currently employ 13 adult and school-based trainees across the Devonport warehouse and kitchen. Our initial goal is to increase this number to 50, such is our absolute commitment to training those who have found it hard to find or keep work, struggle with classroom learning, suffer from anxiety, or been bullied.

We have already trained dozens of trainees who have obtained qualifications and gone on to find employment with us or elsewhere. We are as proud of our trainees as we are of our better-known work of providing emergency food relief to Tasmanians doing it tough.

Many of the trainees have caught our eye after volunteering or participating in work-for-the-dole or work experience programs. Others have been nominated by schools or employment providers after showing a passion for cooking, administration or warehousing.

Ed Simpson, (pictured on the forklift) who has been a warehouse trainee for just over a year, said: “It’s fantastic to know that the money I get is the money I earned rather than was given.

“Even though I may have been volunteering or doing work-for-the-dole, it was still a Government handout.”

Ed, 39, said he had found it hard to keep a fulltime job since leaving school at 16 until he found a home at Loaves and Fishes.

“I’ve had opportunity to get experience on the forklift, sorting and delivering food and even being the acting warehouse manager on occasion.

“They are a fantastic bunch of people.”

Loaves and Fishes kitchen manager Pat O’Connell offered Kyron Hind (pictured above)a traineeship after being impressed with the teen’s work ethic, kitchen knowledge and obvious passion for food and cooking when he attended a training course last year with other students from Indie School.

“I like the taste of good food and cooking is not a struggle for me,” the 16-year-old said.

“Being here doesn’t feel like work to me. I enjoy learning new skills, and this is a nice place to work.”

Kyron’s goal is to run his own restaurant, serving local produce he’s grown himself on his own farms.

Emily Jane Elphinstone (EJ) (pictured below) volunteered once a week for months in the Loaves and Fishes office before being offered a traineeship.

The 16-year-old Devonport High School student continued to show up for work even during the Christmas school holidays.

“You show her something once, and she get it,” said supervisor Kym Roberts.

“She’s always on time and shows up ready to work, and always wants to learn.”

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