Step Up are making menus and serving hungry Mai-Wel staff to learn job skills

Participants of Mai-Wel’s School Leaver Employment Supports Step Up program have been developing their work capacity, hospitality skills and WHS knowledge in the Thrive Café.

Thrive Cafe is a simulated workspace and commercial kitchen in the Mai-Wel LabourForce Solutions office in Maitland, where participants gain hands-on skills and experience in a supportive environment. Using this space, participants are able to learn about and practice serving of hot and cold beverages and food items to people in the Mai-Wel offices in Maitland. The skills that the participants are building are vital to obtaining vocational training and even long-term employment in the hospitality industry in the future.

Over the past 4 weeks, a group of Step Up participants have taken part in a take-home meal project. As part of this, they have been planning, organising and preparing a range of meals for staff and participants to taste-test and provide feedback. Participants have gathered all of the feedback provided and changed their recipes accordingly to make them delicious as can be. From this, the group have developed a weekly menu for Mai-Wel staff and participants to order their work lunch.

Thrive Café is a valuable training initiative offered by Mai-Wel LabourForce Solutions for participants to grow and develop as independent workers. Mai-Wel staff and participants are lucky to benefit from a fully functioning café exclusively for them!

Thrive Cafe is just one facet of Mai-Wel’s Thrive Enterprises, a collection of several enterprise projects that aim to provide a real work environment for participants to engage in, allowing them a supportive space to grow and develop as workers. Each project has been created to help participants grow the eight employability skills: communication, teamwork, problem solving, self-management, planning and organising, technology, learning and initiative and enterprise.

Along with Thrive Cafe, Thrive Greens is on offer for those who love getting in the garden, Thrive Scents for those who want to learn about the production of sweet-smelling soy candles and melts and Thrive Renew for those who want to learn the skills of furniture up-cycling and other woodwork skills.

Do you have SLES funding and want to access amazing skill building spaces like Thrive Café? Contact Mai-Wel LabourForce Solutions on 40158400 or to get involved today! You can visit the school leaver employment supports page on from more information on our Step Up services. See the Thrive page on for more details on our unique Thrive Enterprises Working Life initiatives.


Pictured: Two Step Up participants wearing masks and gloves in the Thrive kitchen while they cut up parsley and chicken for their weekly recipe. 

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