We recently sat down with Vaughn, a delightful and compassionate young person, who is currently working for Good Cycles as a retail assistant at Purpose Precinct in Queen Victoria Market.
“You can talk about why it’s so exciting and the change they’d like to see… The change they are seeing around them is now a booming industry for social enterprises.” – VaughnOriginally from Ballarat, Vaughn moved to Melbourne to look for work. While Vaughn did manage to find full time work through an apprenticeship, he still did not feel like he was gaining the transferable skills to sustain long term employment, nor was the apprenticeship “financially and emotionally feasible.”
The challenges involved with living independently on an apprentice’s wages overwhelmed Vaughn. With the mounting economic pressure of the cost of living crisis, many of Vaughn’s peers were living with their parents, a luxury not available to Vaughn.
Vaughn turned to his partner for advice. In serendipitous fashion, Vaughn’s partner happened to be working at Good Cycles’ City Services division:
“They told me, ‘you’ve got to come work for these guys,’ there’s so much potential here.” – Vaughn
Vaughn began his journey with Good Cycles’ Purpose Precinct in early April 2023, and has since been thriving. A committed participant of the Youth Employment Program, Vaughn would meet with employment coach Leesa, where they would discuss and set out small, achievable goals.
“Everyone is on your side … my goals are their goals” – Vaughn
The two would have regular meetings to see how Vaughn was going on the job at Purpose Precinct, but also to check-in on their mental and physical wellbeing. Leesa encouraged Vaughn to enroll in a Certificate IV in Hospitality, so that one day he could fulfill his desire of becoming a bar manager in the near future.
He believes the YEP program has made a positive impact on his life in general.
Vaughn has seen his customer service skills improve, gaining transferable skills in the process to also work in hospitality on the weekends. He would like to work in hospitality because, as he puts it, “I really, really enjoy customer service and I am a people person, which is strange for some people and I think there might be something slightly wrong with me,”
“My customer service skills have strengthened … and I have enjoyed the responsibility of managing people.” – Vaughn
Vaughn’s skills with retail technology improved dramatically, a vital transferable skill to have in both retail and hospitality. Completing point of sale requests and learning the mechanics of inventory and merchandising, using Lightspeed to follow through with orders and invoices.
“Vaughn has always been passionate about working in hospitality and retail, always been eager to upskill and continues to push himself to grow as an individual.’’ – Vaughn’s Youth Employment Coach.
Within the 6 months of working at The Purpose Precinct, Vaughn took the initiative to lean into his leadership skills by supervising staff, housekeeping and networking with various brand representatives. Vaughn is looking forward to taking a supervisor role at The Purpose Precinct down the line.
Working at the Purpose Precinct has empowered Vaughn to be a more well rounded person. The real takeaway from Vaughn’s YEP journey has been the growth of his interpersonal skills. Being able to put those types of transferable skills on a CV, Vaughn can now show his next employer all the wonderful things they achieved while working at Purpose Precinct.
“Learning how to talk to all sorts of people has always been very important to me, but I haven’t necessarily been the best at it.” – Vaughn
Compared to some of his previous hospitality jobs with uncertain hours, having regular shifts at work meant Vaughn had the opportunity to be more financially secure. This consistency has been key in enabling Vaughn to reach his first goal of financial independence.
Collaborating with his Youth Employment Coach (Leesa), Vaughn’s journey led him to grow personally and professionally. Vaughn states that he now has a ‘’routine and a structured schedule,’’ and his confidence has been gradually improving thanks to the ongoing support of his youth coach and peers. With a concrete plan and a supportive network, Vaughn has a bright future ahead.
The Youth Employment Program provides coaching for young people to overcome employment challenges through one-on-one training sessions and on-the-job training. It’s designed to reduce barriers to employment by offering:
- Real jobs to people aged 18-29
- A steady income
- Tailored training and personal development
In 2021 Good Cycles partnered with fellow social enterprise STREAT to deliver the Purpose Precinct at Queen Victoria Market, establishing a hub to showcase for innovation of Victorian social enterprises. We owe our thanks to the Victorian Government and other partners such as HMST, the City of Melbourne, SENVIC and who have made this possible.