A school project with a difference is giving young parents real-world skills and preparing them for the future.
The Yuille Park Young Parents Program has taken over the BCH cafe at Lucas each Thursday with about 10 young mums helping run the cafe as part of their VCAL studies.
Each week the students design a menu, prepare the food, stock the cafe, make the coffees and serve customers.
The project was the brainchild of Yuille Park teachers Renee Vallance and Megan Hillas.
”There’s nothing like a real-world setting to put the skills they’ve learned in to practice. It’s those skills they can then transfer in to whatever that next step is, whether it’s in to the work environment or in to further training or education,” Ms Hillas said.
“They’ve had to learn communication skills, do barista training, they’ve done safe food handling, money handling, food preparation and more,” she said.
“They’ve also learned how to work under pressure, how to talk to people and how to stay calm and fix problems when they arise.”
The YPP has operated the cafe for the past few weeks, with the number of items on the menu jumping from two to 11 to cater for customer demand.
The Yuille Park Young Parents Program supports young parents aged 14 to 21 to continue their education during pregnancy and parenthood.
“The program is about a whole community approach to helping young mums get back into education and getting their life back on track,” said YPP program coordinator Peter Innes.
“The cafe adds to the broad range of skills offered by the program … and they are learning skills they don’t realise,” he said.
Teagan, 19, has a 1-year-old son Mayson and said working in the cafe had given her many skills and a confidence boost.
“It’s good to get out in to a work-like setting,” she said.
“I’ve gained really good customer skills, can make genuine conversation with people, count money in my head, deal with change and I really enjoy it.”