We’ve recently rolled out a super-exciting, new Barista training programme. It aims to give participants hands-on experience as a Barista, along with further skills that will aid their future employment. The course is also underpinned by a global citizenship outlook, with a goal to educate participants in important global issues and inequalities.

What did we do?

On Monday, four lovely participants came down to Hoogah in Swansea for a session of Barista Training. We started off by introducing where coffee actually comes from and the steps in the chain of coffee production that have to occur before the coffee beans reach the café. By looking at the day in the life of a coffee picker and how drastically different it is to jobs in the UK, we were then able to highlight the positive impacts of Fairtrade coffee. This led onto a debate concerning ‘responsible consumerism’; the participants were shocked to learn that the UK throws away 2.5 billion coffee cups a year, most of which are not recycled! We also discussed the topic of Veganism, its health and environmental effects, and the practical barista solutions. Participants tasted 3 different cow’s milk alternatives that coffee shops might offer (soya, oat and coconut milk) - although there were mixed reactions!

Next was the actual Barista Training! We kicked off with Health & Safety (yawn), before moving onto the fun stuff; our participants had a go at making lots of different types of coffee, learning their flat white from their cappuccino. We had great fun showing them how to master the different equipment, temperatures and shots, as well as familiarising them with the coffee ‘lingo’ so they can emerge from the course as coffee connoisseurs!   

With social media becoming one of the most vital parts of running a successful business, we thought it would be useful for our participants to refine their online skills and gain marketing insights that they could offer potential employers. We covered the ins and outs of social media as a powerful business tool and how to successfully market a business using different platforms. Participants were then given a chance to try their hand at taking their own Instagram worthy snap for business promotion, write a caption and use hashtags to grab their followers’ attention. We think they’d fit right into a café’s Instagram, don’t you?

Instagram photos taken by our participants.

Another central part of the session was Customer Service Training. Using a fun role-play activity, we discussed the basics of great customer interaction, first impressions and personalised product knowledge. Some trickier subjects were also tackled, including positively interacting with customers whose first language is not English and considering access requirements for customers with disabilities. This also involved a discussion about challenging our stigmas and judgments when dealing with customers. These skills will be transferable to other jobs and situations, developing our participants’ employability and social abilities.

Global Citizenship

Our Barista training session gave our participants a real grounding in the global issues that go into creating a cup of coffee. From fair-trade coffee beans to ethical consumerism, our participants left the session understanding the inequality experienced in the world and an appreciation of efforts we can make to challenge this, by seeing how their lives in the UK are linked to those of others around the world. Participants were also challenged in their own perceptions and judgments of customers who, for example, are of a different ethnicity or have a disability. They finished the course more educated and aware of the injustices alive in the world today.

Employment

An important aim of our session was to improve participants’ employment chances. Whilst receiving invaluable Barista training and experience, they were also given guidance in CV writing and approaching businesses for job opportunities. We hope this will have provided participants with useful skills and experiences to aid them in their job search, and importantly, given them more confidence in their abilities for employment and a new direction to explore.

What are we doing in the future?

Our session this week was a pilot that we hope to continue and grow in the future. We’d love to hear from you if you’d like to partner up to put on a future session. Or, if you fancy being a participant in one of the Barista courses, give us a shout! We can’t wait to meet you!