Shepparton News - - FRONT PAGE - By Liz Mellino

Stu­dents at the Ed­u­ca­tion First Youth Foyer had a com­mu­nity break­fast for busi­ness part­ners and guests on Fri­day morn­ing.

About 50 peo­ple at­tended the an­nual event, with stu­dents test­ing their culi­nary skills by cook­ing break­fast for guests.

Ed­u­ca­tion First Youth Foyer man­ager Anita McCurdy said the morn­ing was a way for guests to learn more about the foyer and their ser­vices while pro­vid­ing stu­dents with com­mu­nity con­nec­tions.

‘‘We fo­cus on link­ing the young peo­ple here to com­mu­nity mem­bers and busi­nesses to give them more op­por­tu­ni­ties and in­crease their so­cial cap­i­tal,’’ she said.

‘‘The break­fast al­lows busi­ness peo­ple to learn more about the foyer so they can spread the word . . . it is an easy and sim­ple way for busi­nesses to come in, have a quick meal and speak with stu­dents.’’

The foyer houses 40 stu­dents, aged 16 to 24, in self-con­tained apart­ments with each stu­dent tak­ing part in a two-year pro­gram aimed at pro­vid­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to de­velop ca­reer as­pi­ra­tions, gain work ex­pe­ri­ence and build a path­way to sus­tain­able em­ploy­ment.

Two stu­dents, Sara Hitch­cock and Ni­cole Mark, spoke at the break­fast, shar­ing their per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences with liv­ing at the foyer and then tran­si­tion­ing on to pri­vate rental ac­com­mo­da­tion.

Ms McCurdy said the girls spoke about the key ar­eas of knowl­edge and re­sources that the foyer aimed to pro­vide.

‘‘Stu­dents have lim­ited sup­port and con­nec­tions in the com­mu­nity so we pro­mote those con­nec­tions in ed­u­ca­tion and hope for them to com­plete Year 12 or any other sort of qual­i­fi­ca­tion,’’ Ms McCurdy said.

‘‘We sup­port them in hous­ing and liv­ing skills when they’re here so they can then tran­si­tion out into pri­vate rental and stay out of the pub­lic hous­ing mar­ket.

‘‘We also con­cen­trate on them get­ting linked into the em­ploy­ment field so they are fi­nan­cially sta­ble.’’

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