Kelsey ikin

By Paul O’Rourke

A unique traineeship program is offering employment for those who need a break or some much-needed experience. In turn, the trainees are delivering food, support and hope.

Devonport Chaplaincy and Loaves and Fishes Tasmania has 14 adult and school-based trainees across the Devonport warehouse and kitchen, and the Devonport Chaplaincy office. The goal is to increase this number to 50, such is the commitment to training those who have found it hard to find or keep work, struggle with classroom learning, suffer from anxiety, been bullied, or just need work while studying.

Dozens of trainees have obtained qualifications and gone on to find employment with us or elsewhere.

Ed Simpson, (pictured driving the forklift) who has been a warehouse trainee for just over a year, said: “It’s fantastic to know that the money I get is the money I earned rather than was given.

“Even though I may have been volunteering or doing work-for-the-dole, it was still a Government handout.”

Ed, 39, said he had found it hard to keep a fulltime job since leaving school at 16 until he found a home at Loaves and Fishes.

“I’ve had opportunity to get experience on the forklift, sorting and delivering food and even being the acting warehouse manager on occasion.

“They are a fantastic bunch of people.”

'Obsession with plants'

Devonport Chaplaincy trainee Kelsey Ikin, 21, (pictured above) needed to work as a chaplain as part of her online studies. She was offered a business traineeship instead.

Kelsey, who has a passion and aptitude for plants, youth ministry, business and technology, provides business and administration support across the organisation.

She is studying business while gaining on-the-job experience.

“I love this organisation. It’s my jam,” she said.

“I love that the heart behind this ministry is to care for others.”

She also admits she’s a “bit obsessed with plants”.

“I keep buying, propagating and blogging about plants. I love the whole marketing and branding of plants.

“Everyone needs a side hustle.”

Kyron's grand plan

Loaves and Fishes kitchen manager Pat O’Connell offered Kyron Hind (pictured below) a traineeship after being impressed with the teen’s work ethic, kitchen knowledge and obvious passion for food and cooking when he attended a training course last year with other students from Indie School.

“I like the taste of good food and cooking is not a struggle for me,” the 16-year-old said.

“Being here doesn’t feel like work to me. I enjoy learning new skills, and this is a nice place to work.”

Kyron’s goal is to run his own restaurant, serving local produce he’s grown himself on his own farms.

Emily Jane Elphinstone (EJ) (pictured below with supervisor Kym Roberts) volunteered once a week for months in the Loaves and Fishes office before being offered a traineeship.

The 16-year-old Devonport High School student continued to show up for work even during the Christmas school holidays.

“You show her something once, and she get it,” said supervisor Kym Roberts.

“She’s always on time and shows up ready to work, and always wants to learn.”

Kyron Hind
EJ and Kym Roberts