Michael’s Recipe for Success with Step Up!

Michael takes part in Mai-Wel’s Step Up program, where people with disability are supported to build skills, capacity and confidence for work after leaving school.

During his time with Step Up, Michael has been completing a number of training programs and experiences to prepare him for work in the hospitality industry. With a combination of supportive on-site practical experiences, vocational qualifications, theory and work experience, Michael has been cooking up a recipe for success for his future hospitality career!

Step 1: Build skills in Mai-Wel’s simulated workspace, Thrive Café

For the past 10 months, Michael has been supported to develop his understanding around kitchen process and procedures in a supportive practical environment – Mai-Wel’s very own Thrive Café.

Thrive Café is a simulated workspace and commercial kitchen located in the Mai-Wel LabourForce Solutions office in Maitland. Using the Thrive Café space, participants are able to gain hands-on skills and experience in a supportive environment. At Thrive Café, participants learn and practice serving hot and cold beverages and food to people in the Mai-Wel offices in Maitland.

In Thrive Café, Michael has gained a number of important practical skills, including:

  • Barista training
  • WHS methods
  • How to use kitchen appliances
  • Food preparation and service
  • Money handling
  • Following directions

Michael is often seen around the Mai-Wel offices taking orders and cracking jokes, and he makes an excellent hot chocolate! He has ‘thrived’ at Thrive Café and learnt a number of important kitchen and customer service skills along the way.

Step 2: Earn Vocational Certification to back up your practical skills

It’s extremely beneficial to back up any practical skills with vocational certification or qualifications, particularly in the search for employment.

When an opportunity came for Michael to complete a Certificate II in Kitchen Operations with Reach for Training, he jumped at the chance to back up his skills with vocational training!

Michael attended the 12-week course onsite at Mai-Wel two days a week. Using Mai-Wel’s facilities, Michael was able to complete both the theory and practical elements of the Certificate II in Kitchen Operations.

Through his hard work, Michael was awarded his Certificate for completion of the theory components.

Step 3: Take part in work experience to test out the industry

Step Up supports participants of the program to find and take part in work experience opportunities.

Michael was required to complete a number of practical hours to complete his TAFE course. Through Mai-Wel, Michael was supported to obtain work experience at both KFC Rutherford and St Joseph’s School Canteen.

This work experience not only assisted Michael to make up the hours required for his TAFE program, but also allowed him to gain a taste of the hospitality industry before pursuing a long-term career. Michael thoroughly enjoyed his time at work experience and now he knows that hospitality is the path for him!

Step 4: Plans for the future and transitioning to Mai-Wel’s Disability Employment Service (DES)

Michael future is looking bright as he plans to continue to complete his work experience hours. Once Michael completes his Certificate II in Kitchen Operations he will look to transition to Mai-Wel’s Disability Employment Service (DES) to begin the search for employment.

Congratulations and good luck in the future Michael!

To learn more about how you could build your capacity for work with supports available in Maitland and Cessnock, visit the Step Up page on our Mai-Wel LabourForce Solutions website or contact the team by emailing mwlfs@maiwel.com.au or calling 4015 8400.


Pictured: Theresa from REACH for Training awarding Michael his Certificate II in Kitchen Operations for completing the theory component of his course. 

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