Our new Coffee Academy launches today

Our new Coffee Academy launches today

We are so proud to today announce the launch of our Coffee Academy which will be dedicated to helping young people in our community find work in the hospitality and coffee industries.

The coronavirus pandemic is taking a terrible toll on the confidence and prospects of our younger generation and in setting up this Academy we aim to help school leavers get SCA accredited training in barista skills and gain experience in the world of speciality coffee and ultimately help them on the often challenging journey out of school and into work.

Our initial two year pilot project will offer a three month mentoring program based at our Aberfeldy roastery to 16 final year pupils from Breadalbane Academy – PKC and will eventually expand to include secondary schools across Perthshire.

The project is being supported by our sister youth charity Project Northern Lights which was set up in 2011 to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and has been funded thanks to the Griffin and Calliacher community fund, the National Lottery community fund and The Basil Death Trust.

It’s no secret that lockdown has seen increased mental health issues, anxiety and isolation among young people and we sincerely hope that the Coffee Academy will help boost participants’ confidence, social skills and self-esteem and have a positive impact on helping young people find their feet coming out of the Covid crisis.

Based in a remote, rural, low income area with limited job prospects and job security, we feel that young people in Highland Perthshire need as much support as possible with developing experience and skills for the working world.

Café work is often the first stepping stone for young people out of school and there is real demand in the hospitality industry for employees with good barista skills and experience. Beyond barista work this programme offers an introduction into the coffee industry which always has openings for young people in all aspects of the international supply chain – from green coffee and sensory, to roasting, machinery and training.

Our mentoring programme to school leavers includes:

• A half-day introduction to the world of coffee from farm to cup at Glen Lyon Coffee Roasters in Aberfeldy

• Two internationally recognised courses by the Speciality Coffee Association (SCA): Introduction to coffee and Barista skills. These courses will be delivered by an SCA accredited teacher. Pupils who pass will receive a certificate to show to potential employers.

• Voluntary work placement in one of a number of local partner cafes. As well as a chance to practice barista skills this will be an opportunity to cultivate softer customer service skills and gain invaluable experience in working as part of a team.

• A final half day refresher at our roastery to cover all knowledge and skills gained over the previous three months. Students will leave the programme with the course certificates, hands-on experience and a personal reference from Glen Lyon Coffee and the partner café that they worked in.

You can read more about the project in the press HERE