Our Impact

Pathways For Change.

For Change Co.’s Pathways For Change is a paid, employment and on-the-job workplace training program that works to support participants to create their own pathway out of the cycle of youth homelessness.

Youth training program

Our program has been designed based on evidence of what works to support youth employment.

Focussed on the individual, participants, referred to as trainees, are trained and work (earning award wages) at For Change Co. cafe venues – For Change Cafes – building knowledge and skills that with support them in any workplace.

Our program creates a community of support for the participants and seeks to develop confidence and goal-setting behaviours that the young person can take with them as they pursue the next stage of education and employment in their pathway out of the cycle of homelessness. 

For Change Co. works within the broader ecosystem aiming to end youth homelessness. The program is anchored around key partnerships including with housing support providers Launch Housing and Melbourne City Mission, and with a network of employers to help graduates move into ongoing employment upon program completion.

Extra workshops are also offered within the program structure to enhance participants’ skills and experiences, including financial wellbeing, employability and individualised guidance.

Trainee Stories

For Change Co. has worked with Social Ventures Australia to determine the Social Return on Investment (SROI) for our Pathways For Change program. The report found a number of important outcomes for young people.

Paid Work Experience

40% ($358,000 – $420,000) of the social value is expected to be created for trainees through paid work experience. The young people that For Change Co. assists are at risk of, or experiencing homelessness and as a result, it is difficult if not unlikely for them to be able to secure paid work experience. Often many of them have not had prior work experience and so the opportunity that For Change Co. provides is very important to them.

Employment and work experience are significant factors to breaking out of the cycle of homelessness for the young people.

“Once I started working at For Change Co., I had more experience on my resume. It helped me get a job.” –


Increased Confidence

A significant outcome for young people in the program is increased confidence. This outcome equates to approximately 11% of the total social value created ($84,000 – $141,000). Confidence is a core pillar of For Change Co.’s Hospitality Training Program and is based on evidence of what works in addressing youth homelessness. Many young people who have experienced homelessness are unable to access appropriate support, resulting in a lack of life skills which negatively impacts their confidence. Therefore, positive reinforcement and a consistent and supportive workspace clearly seeks to build the young person’s confidence and, in doing so, assists them in accessing employment and education opportunities.

For Change Co. adopts an Advantaged Thinking approach in their program in which they focus on the strengths of trainees and tolerate minor slip ups – especially in the beginning as the young people find their way. This ultimately, directs young people to see themselves as able to find employment, participate in education; and eventually move out of the foyer accommodation.

“I think For Change Co. are very sophisticated as opposed to other social enterprises in this area because they understand that you need to take a holistic view to support.”

Improved Social Connection and feeling supported

Based on the consultations completed during the evaluation, over 80% of trainees feel a sense of improved social connection and support from For Change Co.. This equates to 5% of the total social value forecasted ($30,000 – $50,000). Many trainees identified the social connection they felt at For Change Co. as being important to them. This is cultivated by the culture of the businesses, the strengths-focused approach to working with the young people and the friendships that are built by trainers and other staff.

The growth in the support system of the young person is very important to their journey out of homelessness and into employment. This is because it helps them become more independent and also more confident in their own value and abilities.

“Even when it was lockdown For Change Co. would call nearly every month and check-in with me.”


Improved wellbeing and motivation

For many of the young people, being at risk of, or experiencing homelessness is tough on their mental wellbeing and feelings of self- worth. The struggle to find a job takes a toll on their mental state, especially when facing other barriers to employment such as discrimination. For many, the above award wages provided to gain hospitality work experience through For Change Co. is a coveted opportunity. All the young people involved experienced an improvement in their wellbeing after joining the program, to varying extents. This outcome equated to 6% of the total social value forecasted ($40,000 – $67,000).

“I was facing a lot because I couldn’t find a job. So getting a job helped me be happier.”


“I was happier and my wellbeing was better because of For Change Co..”


Gain hospitality skills

The Barista and hospitality training that young people receive at For Change Co. is very high quality. The young people are progressed through three modules which build on their skills gradually and ensures the trainee is ready to progress to the next level. They meet the young person at their level and support them to grow their skills. Trainees also indicated For Change Co. has strict criteria and high expectations of them to progress through the modules.

This goal-orientated learning motivates the young people to continue to work towards progressing through the program. The expected social value created for this outcome is between $150,000 – $251,000 which is 19% of the total social value created in 2021.

“I think there aren’t many places where they let you make coffee first. At For Change Co., you’re learning how to make coffees from the first day.”


Increased understanding of work rights

For Change Co. provides training to the young people on what to expect from their employment. For some of the young people involved in the program that had prior hospitality or work experience, they did not know or understand the full extent of their work rights. Some had bad experiences of underpayment or verbally abusive bosses and the experience with For Change Co. helped to reset their outlook towards employment. This outcome is forecasted to be between $27,000 – $44,000 in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

“For Change Co. would explain all about underpayment I asked a lot of questions about that as I didn’t know about that before.”


Improved pathways into employment

Despite the lockdowns in 2020 and the hit that the hospitality industry took, five of the trainees involved in the program had some form of employment outside of For Change Co. at some point in the year. This is a significant achievement given the rise in unemployment during this time and reduced capacity of For Change Co., speaking to the high quality of their training program. In 2021, the Open Shift element will be established whereby For Change Co. will formally look to place graduate trainees in jobs. 

As such, the forecasted social value is between $42,000 – $70,000 in 2021 – 2022. It is important to note that For Change Co. not only prepares young people for employment in the hospitality industry, but also prepares them to think boldly about their future employment and career and supports them on the journey where possible.

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