Graduate Celebration Stories

Young person at STREAT smiling and standing next to an espresso machine.

We’re kicking off the year by celebrating one of our graduates, Catherine, who has just completed six months of employment as a barista in one of our STREAT cafes, through our Paid To Work Program.

We sat down with Catherine to reflect on her experiences through our programs over the past year. Before starting at STREAT, Catherine explained how she was unemployed and how a negative work experience had made her feel hesitant to start work again. But after coming to one of our information sessions, Taste of STREAT,  with her support worker, Catherine decided to join our eight-week program, Fast Track To Work. 

“I really benefited from the ongoing, personalised 1:1 support the STREAT program provided. We talked about my own goals, which was so useful, as each person in the program had their own strengths and weaknesses. And I could receive this support at my own pace. I never felt stressed to ask for help, and the support I received was not invasive. It was also nice to be surrounded by other young people when completing the program, and it meant that the program was not intimidating,” she said. 

Through the program’s hospitality work experience shifts, Catherine discovered a love for making coffee. She showed our team great commitment, determination and confidence throughout the program, which then gave her the opportunity to take part in STREAT’s Paid To Work Program. Catherine said she settled in quickly to our cafe, becoming friendly with the ‘regulars’ and confident across all areas of coffee-making.

“Everyone at STREAT was really nice to me. Everyone was non-judgemental and it was easy to fit in, which made me feel confident to keep coming back. My experience at STREAT meant I could actually enjoy work; it also made me more confident to look for work after my time at STREAT,” Catherine said.

To conclude Catherine’s time at STREAT, she spoke to our current graduating Fast Track To Work trainees about her experience in our Paid To Work Program, giving trainees an insight into the day-to-day life of working in a busy cafe in the middle of the Melbourne CBD. Trainees were able to ask Catherine practical questions about her experience in paid work and her plans for the future.  

“I am excited to potentially come back to STREAT in future to train future young people, and offer the same sort of experience I was given,” Catherine said.  

We wish Catherine all the best in her future endeavours and have no doubts that she will find work where she can make a meaningful difference!

Stories like this one are only possible through all of your support. Whether it’s getting a coffee or a meal in one of our STREAT cafes, getting your STREAT products and hampers from our online shop, or STREAT catering for your next meeting, it all adds up. Anyone who supports STREAT is helping young people like Catherine to achieve their goals and ensure that STREAT’s Youth Programs can continue to provide an opportunity for amazing outcomes for young people in the future.

Want to learn more?

If you, or a young person you know, are interested in applying to our programs, fill in this form and our team will be in touch with you. Or you can email us at or call (03) 96294222.