Wise Barista




The Wise Barista Program, an initiative of the Wise Foundation, first launched at the Telstra Discovery Store in November 2015 with a vision to provide training and employment opportunities for individuals facing barriers to employment. We bring corporate partners and suppliers together to create positive, lasting impact on the lives of vulnerable people, whilst demonstrating the benefits of corporate social impact investment.

In 2017, National Australia Bank (NAB) joined the Wise Barista movement and a site was launched at the NAB on George Street branch, Sydney. This site was in operation from 2017-2020 and saw 12 participants successfully complete the program. 

The refugee and asylum seeker community is one of the most disadvantaged groups in Australia, with few training and employment opportunities available to new arrivals or those struggling to establish themselves in the Australian workforce. We partner with the Asylum Seeker Resource Center (ASRC), Melbourne, and the Asylum Seekers Center (ASC), Sydney, to identify candidates who can benefit most from the Wise Barista Program.

Making excellent coffee – a highly transferable hospitality skill – is at the heart of the Wise Barista program, but we quickly learned that this initiative is much bigger than barista skills. It is a platform for participants to interact with the wider community, to develop their English proficiency and, often most importantly, to build confidence and self-esteem.



Due to the impacts of COVID-19, the Wise Barista Program sites at National Australia Bank in Sydney and Belong Headquarters in Melbourne have been suspended. We continue to operate the program at our Head Office at 28 Thistlethwaite Street, South Melbourne, where Wise Barista participants hone their barista skills to delight customers each day.

Our Thistlethwaite Street barista's also have the opportunity to develop their experience in additional areas, including: 

  • Food safety and handling 
  • Processing food and coffee purchases
  • Stock control, weekly stock ordering & monthly stocktake requirements 

Our cafe is open for take away food and coffee from 8am-2pm, Monday to Friday. Stop by to meet our participants and try their amazing coffee for yourself! 


The Wise Barista Program empowers participants to build not only hospitality skills, but also hands-on experience in the Australian workforce within an established team environment. This is an opportunity for you and your employees to support new participants to the program – many of whom have never had the opportunity to work in Australia or interact with the wider community – as they adjust to their new challenge. Promoting the Wise Barista Program to your customers is another great way to show your support.

We have been humbled to see our host partners take such pride in the program, and the lasting impact their support and guidance has had on the lives of marginalised individuals. Wise Barista participants graduate the program with a greater sense of confidence, both professionally and personally. To date, 74% of the Wise Barista graduates (and counting!) have gone on to secure meaningful employment.

For more information on the Wise Barista Program or if you are interested in hosting this initiative in your workplace please contact us at [email protected]


Wise Barista Program is proud to be certified social enterprise

Keep up to date with the latest Wise Barista news by following our social media pages 








Wise Foundation Initiatives