Over the past month Steven Krt and Michael Otto have gained independence in their lives.
The pair, who are clients of disability support organisation Araluen, recently started working at Epping’s Chancez cafe, and moved out of home into a place they rent together.
The cafe, which is at the Epping Community Services Hub on High Street, is run by Araluen and provides clients with the chance to gain work experience and learn new skills.
Mr Krt and Mr Otto are two of the 15 people who work at the cafe.
They have completed a barista course, as well as certificate I in food processing, and are about to embark on their certificate II level.
Mr Krt, who previously worked in a fruit shop, said he is enjoying working in the cafe.
He said he likes talking to the customers, but is still finding making coffee a “bit tricky”.
For Mr Otto, making coffees and meeting different people is the best part of the job.
Araluen support services general manager Tamara Catlach said the cafe gives people opportunities to study and enhance their skills, so they can work in the community.
“It is an interim step between courses and the workforce,” she said.
Ms Catlach said Araluen decided to start up the cafe after Whittlesea council approached it about expanding its disability services in Whittlesea.
She said the idea began as a coffee cart at the hub, which is owned by the council and managed by the Brotherhood of St Laurence.
But it quickly grew when Araluen realised how many people were interested in having hospitality skills.
Sarah Chapman, who manages Araluen’s Primed service, which helps clients get jobs, said the service has worked with the 15 people employed in the cafe to ensure they feel confident in working independently.
She said ongoing training was tailored towards each person’s particular needs.
“Someone might make coffee really well but might need to work on their confidence more,” she said.
The cafe is at 713 High Street, Epping and is open 8.30am-3.30pm, Monday-Friday.