This section describes the unique work, study and wellbeing model at SOFEA and the incredible impact we have on individuals, the community and the world through our integrated programmes.

CHALLENGES, SOLUTION, BENEFITS

Our model helps uplift and upskill young people, empowering them to directly support the communities in which they are they are expected to thrive

CHALLENGES

We focus on three key social challenges:

  1. Young people who reach the end of their compulsory education without the attitudes, behaviours and skills to progress successfully, who have difficulty understanding and accessing the support they need.
  2. Disadvantaged community members in food poverty.
  3. Food waste that ends up in landfill, polluting the local environment and releasing harmful gases, that contribute to global warming.

SOLUTION: TRAINEE TRIFECTA

We address these challenges simultaneously through uniquely integrated solutions, primarily aimed at individuals ages 14 – 24.

We call this approach the Trainee Trifecta: an integrated focus on study, wellbeing and work.

Study

We follow an accredited programme of employability skills and qualifications in personal development, employability, and warehousing and logistics. Individuals participate in personalized programmes that include Maths and English, available up to and including GCSE level, as well as a diploma in Team Leading, which is the first step toward our own employment and apprenticeship program.

Wellbeing

This includes everything related to helping our trainees improve their overall quality of life and general wellness. Our behavioural change programme is a key part of this.  Embedded in our learning offering, it provides therapeutic support, focused on self-awareness, emotion and relationship management and identification of behaviour patterns in need of development or improvement.

We also offer an electives program in efforts to broaden the horizons of our trainees and ignite their curiosity about new places, hobbies, artistic, cultural and learning opportunities. This includes volunteer experiences internally and at other charitable organisations, outdoor survival skills, gardening, art, music, philosophy, wood shop, fitness activities and practical support on things like personal finance, career planning and cooking. As we continue to expand this program, we have even entered the local table tennis league!

Work

We offer practical skills training and an opportunity to serve the community. Our food rescue operation distributes surplus food that would otherwise go to waste from supermarkets, their distribution centres and suppliers, to people in need.

Targeted distribution is made possible through our relationships with local government, food charities and other organizations working to address food poverty.We use our food rescue warehouse as a practical skills training ground for people who have come through our education and behavioural programme, including specific skills such as forklift truck driving and inventory management. At the same time, we teach general employability skills such as self-management, teamwork and communication.

IMPACT OF THE TRAINEE TRIFECTA

BENEFITS

Our integrated model is so highly effective because each element of our program drives the next. The young people we work with are able to transition from a position of need, to one where they are able to contribute.  Our approach empowers them to go on to directly support the communities in which they are expected to thrive.

  • Our education programme leads to job readiness, and through our own recruitment service “Outside Inspired” we help employers to place people in the most appropriate positions.
  • Our wellness and behavioural programmes, and practical skills training, are how we provide the community with attractive, well-prepared workforce candidates.
    Our advantage in using our own food redistribution warehouse to train young people is that we can continue to support their behavioural development while they learn professional accountability.  Their work in the warehouse must to be done to a high standard so that SOFEA is compliant with the law and is a reliable food source for those in need.
  • The requirement for our trainees to work as a team, communicate effectively and self-manage in a professional manner, provides the real-time context in which we can address profound behavioural development and change.

All of this is supported by our team of staff and volunteers, dedicated to working together to uplift all individuals in the SOFEA community. We have found over four years that this unique trifecta of support brings about significant and lasting benefits not just in job outcomes, but in broader attitudes and mindsets.