Work Experience helps job seekers regain confidence

Work for the Dole participant, Melissa Bugden, believes that it only takes one person to give you an opportunity, to change the course of your life forever.

She, and fellow work experience participant Annake Barry, believe that their Work for the Dole host, Beate Brooks-Tracy, was that one person who gave them that crucial break.

Beate is the supervisor of Red Dove Café, which is located at the back of the Manning Uniting Church in Albert Street, Taree.

“Beate is a gem, a true diamond,” they echo, crediting Beate with not only helping them to regain their self-confidence, but that she has also been a wonderful teacher. They now have a significant range of hospitality skills under their belt, which encompass barista techniques, knife handling, cooking and food preparation, nutrition, food presentation, table service and cash handling.

Mastering these new skills has given them a true sense of accomplishment, an inner strength – a long way from the shy and anxious job seekers they were on their first day of work.

They feel that many job seekers inadvertently fall into a void, leading to loss of social connection and a lack of self-esteem that is sometimes hard to regain.

“Work experience can open up new horizons, new prospects that you never knew existed,” said Melissa.  And for Annake, “I was happy because I had finally found a place where I was welcomed, included, accepted and given the confidence to shine.”


Work for the Dole has transformed the lives of two people who have nothing but praise for their boss and ETC staff. 


Melissa has now taken up the opportunity of a Traineeship at Red Dove Café, which will give her industry qualifications – Hospitality Certificates II, III and IV.  She and Beate will head to the Food Expo in Newcastle in a few weeks to gather inspiration for menus and event catering.

Annake has moved into a volunteer role within the business at reception so that will allow her to gain new skills in customer service and administration while still enjoying the camaraderie and creative freedom she is so familiar with at the Red Dove.

Manning Uniting Church, which operates the Red Dove Café, has been instrumental in providing a number of work experience opportunities for job seekers. They currently have seven Work for the Dole job seekers under their wing.

A further benefit for Melissa and Annake is that they get to work alongside a group of dedicated volunteers all of whom have valuable life skills, knowledge and years of experience to share.

If you know of someone who would like to be considered for a work experience or Work for the Dole placement, please contact your local ETC Office – Phone 1800 007 400.

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