Monday, June 24, 2024

Milestone cafe opening for SisterWorks enterprise

Victorian Minister for Women, Natalie Hutchins, today officially opened a new SisterWorks cafe and shop in Richmond, marking an important milestone for the social enterprise which supports migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking women to find work.

The new SisterWorks Crafted Culture Cafe and Shop in Bridge Road is the organisation’s latest initiative to support women from diverse cultural boackgrounds by providing hands-on, vocational training and employment opportunities.

The Richmond café will employ women who have completed SisterWorks hospitality training, while the shop will showcase the cultural diversity of ‘Sisters’ through flavours and crafts from around the world.

‘Migrant, refugee and asylum seeker women bring unique cultural knowledge, skills, abilities, perspectives and connections to our community, which are not only valuable assets to potential employers but also key to overcoming structural barriers to women’s advancement in the workforce,” said Minister Hutchins.

“I’m delighted to be here today to help officially open the SisterWorks Crafted Culture Café, which will support more women from diverse backgrounds to earn an income, gain work experience and explore entrepreneurship.”

Since 2018, the State Government has invested more than $1 million in SisterWorks programs, as part of its commitment to addressing structural barriers to women’s participation in the workforce.

“Crafted Culture, our new cafe and shop, is a testament to our strong, culturally sensitive and tailored hospitality training and employment service programs. Not only is this a safe place for our migrant and refugee Sisters to practice new vocational skills, for some of the women, this is their first job in Australia,” said SisterWorks CEO, Ifrin Fittock.

She said migrant and refugee women can be excluded from employment opportunities due to a lack of local relevant experience, qualifications and language obstacles.

Women from culturally diverse backgrounds are overrepresented in insecure and low-paid work. They also experience higher rates of unemployment, with the unemployment rate for Victorian migrant women more than three times higher than for Australian-born women.

SisterWorks has to date supported more than 2,000 migrant, refugee and asylum seeker women from 105 countries to build a better life in Australia through skills training and work opportunities.

The Richmond café and shop joins SisterWorks activities across Victoria, including Empowerment Hubs in Melbourne’s CBD, Bendigo, Dandenong and Abbotsford, where women can connect with each other. SisterWorks also delivers learning opportunities through their Labs: Support, Design, Cooking, Business, Digital and Pathways.

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