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A bike mechanic’s journey with Good Cycles in the Youth Employment Program

Jason wandered into our Geelong bike shop as a wide eyed customer not knowing that Good Cycles was a social enterprise. Now he’s working with us, learning on the job and setting goals for his job of the future.

(Jason is not the real name of this Youth Employment Program participant, as they have chosen to remain anonymous.)

As an avid road cyclist, our YEP staff member always appreciated the knowledge and welcoming environment the team at Geelong provided, and quickly built a rapport with JP and the Geelong team. He really wanted a job with Good Cycles, but at the time there was nothing on offer.

Jason was new to Geelong, after moving out of home for the first time from regional Victoria. He quickly found himself in the pressure cooker of young adulthood, stuck in a work environment that wasn’t inclusive and lacked a positive work culture.

J.P., our Bike Shop Manager at Geelong, reached out and offered an opportunity to work as a trainee mechanic and retail assistant, which Jason didn’t pass up.

At first, Jason wasn’t a part of our Youth Employment Program (YEP) but as JP listened and learned more about his new employee, he approached Jason to see if he’d be keen to have a chat with one of our Youth Coaches, Leesa.

Good Cycles welcomed him into the program. Leesa now sees Jason on a regular basis to set personal goals and study goals, so that he can find long term employment in a job of the future. One of his goals is to go back to university.

"Jason recently set a goal to find a university course in Environmental Sciences and to start planning a move to Melbourne to broaden study and job opportunities in that field."
Youth Coach
Since March 2023, our YEP participant has been steadily achieving the goals he sets out for himself. Interpersonal skills are what his manager JP wants to instill in the young bike mechanic and the team at Little Malop Street:

“At our bike shop, I like to think we uplift, encourage and educate… it’s all about creating a positive work environment and to give the confidence to ‘talk shop’ for hours on end.” ~ JP

At first, Jason didn’t think he was eligible for the Youth Employment Program. He gradually took the time to listen and gather a deeper understanding of the challenges that he and other young people face. Our YEP participant went in with an open mind and is now reaping the rewards of the program.

Our YEP staff member loves his job and has been working at Good Cycles’ Geelong bike shop for several months. In that time frame, he has expanded his bike mechanic knowledge and says the positive, people-focused work culture motivates him.

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
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Good Cycles marks 10 years of change on World Social Enterprise Day

Celebrating ten years of change on World Social Enterprise Day

Good Cycles begins its 10-year anniversary celebration on World Social Enterprise Day, November 16, 2023, what a great day to celebrate 10 years of change. This momentous day gives us a chance to reflect on how we got here, the impact that we have made and provides a guide into our future of impact and growth.


In 2013, founders Loretta Curtin & Luke Wright created Australia’s first bike based social enterprise, using the bicycle as vehicles for positive change. Our goal, to train young people and break down their barriers to employment.

I could not hold a steady job, it was really hard. With Good Cycles, they gave me the structure … the support. And I had mentors.​ ~ Andy, Good Cycles employee-trainee

Through the Pedal Empowerment Program and with the help of corporate and government partners including Westpac Foundation & the City of Melbourne, Luke and Lorretta trained, upskilled and donated bikes to refugees, asylum seekers and young people from diverse backgrounds including those within the justice system.

In 2016, our fresh-faced CEO Jaison Hoenel joined Good Cycles bringing with him his global knowledge of bike share, retail, and an idea to expand and to create more jobs for young people.


After almost four years of repairing thousands of bikes and training hundreds of young people, Good Cycles starts creating meaningful jobs by delivering services by bicycle.

By partnering with the likes of Melbourne Bike Share, Citywide, Toyota, DM Roads, Fulton Hogan & more, our services include carshare cleaning, environmental waste collection, asset maintenance, solar bin checks, and delivery, logistics and more.


“I didn’t feel like there was an expectation that I’d do anything that I wasn’t capable of. It was very accommodating for me.”
~ Eve, Pedal Empowerment Program and Car Services

Using bicycles as work vehicles enabled Good Cycles to offer jobs to young people while removing thousands of cars, vans and light trucks from our roads.

In 2022 alone, Good Cycles prevented 20,000 kg of CO2 from entering the atmosphere and removed 50 light vehicle movements from our congested roads a week!


This job has given me purpose and a reason to wake up in the morning, so I’m very grateful for that.

~ S’moe, Good Spaces Team member

2021 – 2023

December 2021, saw Good Cycles go beyond the bicycle acquiring Open Spaces, a commercial landscaping and horticulture business which helps young people find jobs. At Open Spaces, the crew are responsible for landscaping, collecting litter and mowing grass for the entire length of the Western Ring Road; across fifty plus Fire Rescue Victoria sites across Melbourne.

We opened our fourth bike shop in 2022 with Nightingale in Brunswick’s award winning social enterprise apartment complex and we are servicing all the Lime share bikes, across Melbourne and now Sydney.

During this time we define our social impact through our Youth Employment Program, which provides countless hours of employment, coaching and support to young people facing barriers to employment.

"Good Cycles gives me the credit for the good work I do. It’s nice to have someone check in with me on how I am, and what I want for my future."
City Services

December 2022 saw us partner with STREAT and the Victorian Government to launch the Purpose Precinct, at the Queen Victoria Market a hub showcasing and selling the wares of over 40 social enterprises, including….

Ten years on, we are still innovating to create meaningful jobs, currently employing about 150 people across Melbourne and Sydney. Over the 10 Years we have directly impacted 767 young people through “Good” employment and training opportunities.
Impact that breaks down barriers to employment, nurtures our community, is good for the environment and creates good cycles of change.

World Social Enterprise Day gives us a chance not only to celebrate our work, but to raise awareness and praise all social enterprises do to make the world a better place, to create more just and equitable societies, and to reflect on the positive impact we have made on the environment and in our communities.

To keep up to date with all the good things we’re doing, click the button below to join our mailing list.

STAY TUNED for updates on our 10 year celebration… More to come!

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Vaughn’s YEP journey at the Purpose Precinct

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.

Vaughn’s Youth Employment Program journey has had its challenges, but through coaching and support, he’s focused on becoming “a well rounded human being.”
Vaughn works in Purpose Precinct’s retail offering; a curated marketplace that brings together a number of Victorian social enterprise businesses, with products in homewares, clothing, food and gifts. It’s clear that Vaughn has an affinity for people and sharing the amazing stories of the products he sells. According to Vaughn, by sharing the story behind the products, people are more likely to engage and remember these social enterprises in the long run.
“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.” – Vaughn
  Originally 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.

“Vaughn is a remarkable employee with an exceptional work ethic who was able to excel in his role as a retail assistant in a short amount of time.”
Youth Coach

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.

You can read more about Purpose Precinct here.

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2023 World Youth Skills Day

July 15th 2023 marks World Youth Skills Day. This year we celebrate not only our young people, but also our skilled Trainers, Mentors, and Leaders

Each year on July 15th, World Youth Skills Day is observed as a day of significance, celebrating the importance of helping young people develop the necessary skills to succeed in today’s rapidly changing world.

Since Good Cycles was established in 2014, our mission has been to not only reduce the barriers to employment, but to equip young people with the tools and experience that will serve as building blocks for a brighter future.

What started as providing mentorship and practical technical skills in bicycle maintenance, today Good Cycles is able to offer participants pathways to learn skills across a whole range of different industries and sectors. It’s through this diversity of roles we offer we are able to provide more opportunities for young people to gain the skills and training they need to cultivate their own career paths.

Today, learning how to fix a bike is a small component of the kind of skills a young person may learn with Good Cycles. Through our City Services division, our Car Share cleaning & relocation operations, and the work we do through our Open Spaces division, the breadth of practical skills we are able to offer our Youth Employment Participants has never been greater. In addition, participants build confidence, work as part of a team, and get to feel a sense of pride in the work they do, and what they can accomplish.

In conversation with City Services team members, our City Services Manager, Mark Liddle, spoke to some of the significant skills the team had reflected upon in their roles; from the importance of time management, and utilising critical thinking and problem-solving skills, to planning for different contingencies a day may require. Team members also spoke to the importance good communication plays in their roles, be it talking to managers, customers, or other staff.

As of May 31 2023, 24% of Good Cycle’s total employees are young people in the YEP program, receiving various levels of support such as coaching, training and on the job learning. Critically, through the observations of our coaches and supervisors, over 80% experienced an increase in capabilities, paralleling the positive guidance and support our managers and trainers can provide.

"It's such an honour to see the growth in confidence and development of both technical and transferable skills in our program participants, the simple act of being given an opportunity to get their foot in the door, as well as some on-the-job support and guidance makes such a powerful impact. Our operational supervisors do such an amazing job. Providing support and guidance in a safe and inclusive workplace environment that allows our participants to develop skills and confidence, make valuable connections and thrive in their roles."​
Khan Churchill
General Manager of Programs

The theme for World Youth Skills Day 2023 is Skilling teachers, trainers and youth for a transformative future. This year we celebrate the teachers, trainers and mentors that guide our young participants as they receive training and learn new skills, providing them with more confidence and preparedness for the evolving labour market.

Good Cycles is incredibly proud of our team leaders, managers, social workers and mentors that bring their passion and commitment towards helping young people who experience barriers to employment

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Good Cycles and the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation – Setting wheels in motion for youth employment

With the help of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, Good Cycles looks towards future growth

As a not-for-profit social enterprise, the impact we’re able to make is a direct result of the generous ongoing support from our members, our partners in local government, and the private philanthropic space. Since 2014, Good Cycles have been fortunate to have the philanthropic support of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.

As Australia’s largest independent community foundation, the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation exists to create positive social change. Through their vision of Inspiring philanthropy & sustained social impact, annually the Foundation provides grants of $12 million to not-for-profit organisations across Melbourne, with the goal of promoting social inclusion and elevating the life opportunities of individuals through organisations it engages with.

From our humble beginnings, the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation has helped Good Cycles in our ambitions to grow as an organisation, helping us affect more change, and create more opportunities for young people. It’s through the support of such partners we’re able to chart our future growth, and focus on scaling the level of our impact.

“In terms of how Good Cycles is helping my life, I guess is giving me credit for the for the work that I'm doing.. It's good to have someone else point it out to you but then also help you point it out for yourself.”
Operations Coordinator, & previous YEP participant
…Overall it's like a big boost in confidence. Just the ability to plan for the future, actually having that security, (it’s) much easier to make decisions that are actually going to be constructive.
Operations Team Member

What began with teaching young people how to fix a bike whilst providing mentorship, Good Cycles has since grown to exist in a variety of sectors and industries, creating more opportunities for young people to gain a variety of real-world skills applicable to jobs of today, and the future. 

Good Cycles is grateful to have the support of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, helping us in our mission to remove barriers to employment and improve the lives of young people.

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The Westpac Foundation kindly supporting the Good Cycles mission

Good Cycles youth Employment Program participant Lucas

Like many businesses and not-for-profits, the Pandemic was a challenging time. It was a period that sought the need for businesses to be creative, and prompted a need to re-focus and re-evaluate

As a Social Enterprise that is heavily invested in multiple service-based operations in and around metropolitan Melbourne, including bicycle retail & servicing, car cleaning, asset management, Open Spaces and more, our scope is broad. But throughout this time the focus has remained fundamentally the same: to give young people the opportunity to gain employment skills and build confidence.
An integral part of how we operate comes from the private sector, and it’s with the help of funders, like the Westpac Foundation, that we’re able to continue to concentrate on areas of growth, and where we can continue to make a difference.
Good Cycle’s is incredibly honoured to be a recipient of the Westpac Foundation Social Enterprise Grants Program who’ve generously donated $300,000 over three years, to help us achieve our plans for future growth.
Without the philanthropic aid of those who partner with us, we’d be unable to achieve the breadth of impact we’ve been able to affect in the not-for-profit space. 
Good Cycles is incredibly grateful to the Westpac Foundation, and our other partners, who believe in our mission of creating jobs, providing mentorship, and affecting change in the lives of young people.

To read about some of the personal accounts our employees have experienced while working with us, check out this fantastic article on the Westpac Foundation’s website, here.

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Happy One Year Anniversary Nathan

Nathan's Journey to Sustainable Employment and Personal Growth with Good Cycles

Nathan, a high school graduate, struggled to find sustainable work. After leaving high school, he was in a vicious cycle of inconsistent work and an unstable income. Determined to work and make himself more employable, he tried extra study and working in different industries, but Nathan’s struggle continued and still faced barriers to employment . His life took a positive turn when he joined Good Cycles in our Open Spaces division.

Welcome to Good Cycles

In June of last year, Nathan learned about Good Cycles through Djerriwarrh, an employment support organisation that helped Nathan refine his CV and introduced him to our Open Spaces team. Through Open Spaces, Good Cycles created a range of new gardening and mowing job opportunities and welcomed Nathan for an interview. From the get-go, our “relaxed and welcoming” interview process made him feel at ease, and Nathan was offered a gardening role at Good Cycles, joining our Youth Employment Program.

Social Impact via the Youth Employment Program

Our Youth Employment Program is designed to support people in Nathan’s position with coaching and skills development alongside real-world work experience. One of the key aspects of the program is Nathan’s weekly check-ins with Jordan – one of Good Cycles’ youth employment coaches. These sessions allow Jordan and Nathan to set work goals and then apply the relevant training or coaching required. Currently, Jordan is supporting Nathan’s application for a Cert III in Horticulture at Kangan Institute.

"(Working at Good Cycles has) not only provided me with a stable source of income but also a sense of purpose and personal growth”.

12 Months On

Maintaining employment for 6 months is a significant milestone for people who have faced barriers to employment. In June 2023, we’re proud to celebrate Nathan’s one year anniversary with Good Cycles. His team members have seen growth in his communication and teamwork skills and have also witnessed his personal efforts to develop consistent routines. Through his commitment, Nathan has found independence, financial stability, and the means to “treat himself”.

Nathan hopes to continue his career with the gardening team at Good Cycles and work towards operating large machinery such as mowers and tractors.

Sustainable Employment

Nathan’s journey to sustainable employment with Good Cycles highlights the importance of creating meaningful jobs within a safe and inclusive workplace. Nathan has acquired new skills, certifications and more importantly, a sense of belonging. He added that his experience with the team and Jordan has “provided him with a stable source of income and a sense of purpose and personal growth”.

Nathan’s dedication to his job has not gone unnoticed. His manager, Brett, has praised him for his reliability, for never being late to work, and for never missing a day since he started.

“I love my job with Good Cycles, it has allowed me to see myself in the future and gain the qualifications needed to get there.” ~ Nathan

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Good Cycles delivers its 2022 Impact Report

Good Cycles Impact Snapshot 2022: Creating Positive Change

We are thrilled to share our Impact Snapshot for 2022. Despite the challenges that we all faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, we remained steadfast in our mission to reduce barriers to employment and have managed strong growth to create more job opportunities and impact than ever.

Youth Employment Program (YEP): Empowering 36 Young People

It was a big year for our Youth Employment Program (YEP) with over 23,000 hours of work conducted across 36 YEP participants.

Our YEP provides individual coaching support, skills development and training, and real-world work experience to young people facing barriers to employment, such as insecure housing, mental health challenges, and other forms of socioeconomic and socio-cultural disadvantage.

Our impact data shows how we are able to empower a diverse group of young individuals by unlocking aspirations and supporting them in their transition toward secure employment pathways

See our Impact report online, or click below to download the report:

Of course, we can only do this thanks to our amazing staff and our commercial, philanthropic, academic and governmental partners who support us in our commitment to impact and social enterprise.

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Good Cycles helps launch ‘The Purpose Precinct’ at Queen Vic Market: A new home for 20+ local social enterprises

Good Cycles is proud to partner with the Queen Victoria Market and STREAT to help create 'The Purpose Precinct' – a showcase of Victorian social enterprise products and services located in the Market’s String Bean Alley.

With the backing of the Victorian Government and Social Enterprise Network of Victoria, The Purpose Precinct brings together a range of unique products and services from over 20 Victorian social enterprises such as Clothing the Gaps and HoMie, with many more to come.

Alongside a select range of Good Cycles’ bicycle products, is a curated and rotating range of goods all made, designed and/or recycled from sustainably and ethically sourced materials; including homewares, preserves and other non-perishable food, home-growing supplies, clothing and accessories. Good Cycles will also offer bicycle servicing in the near future.

Queen Victoria Market CEO Stan Liacos says the Market is proud to partner with Good Cycles and STREAT, which sits well with the Market’s history and future plans.

“Throughout its 140-year history, Queen Victoria Market has provided access to essential fresh food, goods and services to Melburnians, as well as being an important part of the city’s social fabric. The Purpose Precinct brings a unique mix of quality products and services, helping to achieve our goal to diversify the Market’s offerings to appeal to Melburnians and contribute to positive economic and social outcomes,” he said.

“Throughout its 140-year history, Queen Victoria Market has provided access to essential fresh food, goods and services to Melburnians, as well as being an important part of the city’s social fabric. The Purpose Precinct brings a unique mix of quality products and services, helping to achieve our goal to diversify the Market’s offerings to appeal to Melburnians and contribute to positive economic and social outcomes.”

“We’re excited to call Queen Victoria Market our new home. The Purpose Precinct will create a front door for social enterprises to work together to engage the community and deliver products and services to help people, places and the planet to thrive. Our ambition is to see hundreds of Victorian social enterprises represented in the Precinct over the coming years, all working together not only to create better cities, but also meaningful employment opportunities for Victorians.”

STREAT CEO Rebecca Scott says many of Victoria’s social enterprises create employment opportunities for people who face structural barriers to work.

“The Purpose Precinct will showcase products and services being made in all corners of the state, and we’re excited for people to have a taste of the delicious things the sector has to offer.”

Good Cycles CEO Jaison Hoernel says the team is thrilled to be part of the Market’s diverse and thriving culture.

“We’re excited to call Queen Victoria Market our new home. The Purpose Precinct will create a front door for social enterprises to work together to engage the community and deliver products and services to help people, places and the planet to thrive.

“Our ambition is to see hundreds of Victorian social enterprises represented in the Precinct over the coming years, all working together not only to create better cities, but also meaningful employment opportunities for Victorians.”


Social Enterprise and Not for Profit participants of the Precinct include:


We would like to show our deepest gratitude to all those people that helped make this happen, in particular The Queen Victoria Market, the Victorian Government, STREAT, SENVic and an extra special mention to Silas and our hard-working Good Cycles staff. It’s an exciting time for social enterprise and we can’t wait to see you down at String Bean Alley to support everyone involved.

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Wear it Purple Day 2022 at Good Cycles

The day itself is all about creating safe, empowering and inclusive environments for LGBTQI+ young people. This is especially important in the workplace, particularly where people may have had negative experiences, or not feel they were able to be themselves for fear of judgment or discrimination.

Kirra (Head of Innovation and Impact) with Jaison (CEO) and Mihai and Ivan from our Operations team
WIPD2022 in full effect!

The events, which also marked the commencement of work on Good Cycles’ Diversity & Inclusion Strategy, were attended by approximately 60 staff and a great time was had by all.

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Darren’s experience with Good Cycles

Right from the get-go, Darren showed a high level of resourcefulness, determination and negotiation; his enthusiasm when performing his various tasks and a natural aptitude for problem solving became a source of motivation for others, “People talk to me and they tell me “How do you solve those problems so quickly?”… Being able to think both inside and outside the box [is key].”

Through his experience at Good Cycles, Darren was able to improve and strengthen his communication and teamwork skills. Darren noted that he “used to avoid teamwork but now I’m comfortable during shifts… Communication and keeping in contact with people so they know what is going on is a big thing.”

Another big thing for Darren was the chance to be given opportunities to build personal and professional connections particularly at Citywide. In fact, one of his professional goals was to move to Citywide into a permanent position there. Darren noted that, when he was able to work at the Citywide-operated Degraves Street Recycling facility during his time at Good Cycles, he was able to make both personal and professional connections:

They assisted me in that they provided a comfortable working space which – for me – is one of the biggest things. The training they provided was sufficient for me [too].

After making use of the skills, networks and experience he gained in working shifts at the Facility, he successfully achieved his goal and moved into a permanent position at Citywide in December 2021.

Quality time with his children and family is particularly important for Darren: Darren was able to “spend more time with my kids and family” through the flexible shift structures at Good Cycles. More significantly, being employed meant being able to afford more secure housing and provide financially for his young family. Through the job security that came with working at Good Cycles, Darren was able to make huge progress in achieving his twin life goals of “a good home for my family” and “kids growing up healthy and happy”.