The Coffee Academy Returns

The Coffee Academy Returns

One of the founding motivations of Glen Lyon Coffee Roasters has been to support and engage with our local community. We do this in many ways, from hosting events to working with local partners and planting trees to help regenerate the Highland landscape.

Last year we added a new initiative, the Coffee Academy, to assist local young people in navigating the next steps as they leave school and enter the working world. Due to its success, we’re delighted to announce that we will be bringing this project back for a second year with an expanded programme of workshops and new cafe partners.

We work with Aberfeldy’s Breadalbane Academy to coach a group of school leavers with accredited Speciality Coffee Association (SCA) training in barista skills, as well as helping them gain real-world experience by pairing them with partner cafes. Additionally, we offer an introduction into the coffee industry, which is always looking for young people interested in joining one of the myriad roles available from barista to roaster, trainer to green coffee buyer and many more.

For many young people a cafe job is the first working experience they gain, and in rural areas such as ours, jobs for school leavers can be scarce. Much of the time, the only jobs available for them are hospitality roles, but coming from school they often don’t have a long CV. This makes programmes such as the Coffee Academy even more important, as they can give participants an extra edge with proven coffee and customer service skills and real-world experience.

Our first programme in 2021 was a hit, with nine final-year pupils from Breadalbane Academy taking part—and we were very pleased that all successfully completed the course. Supported by our sister charity Project Northern Lights, we were able to mentor this motivated group of youngsters through completion of the course, and show them just how interesting and satisfying a career in coffee can be. We were pleased to see a massive improvement in both their coffee skills and knowledge as well as their confidence in a customer service environment.

This year, we will again welcome nine pupils aged 15-16 into the Coffee Academy. The programme will include:

  • An introduction to the world of coffee from farm to cup at our roastery in Aberfeldy
  • Two internationally-recognised courses from the SCA, taught by an SCA-accredited teacher, including Introduction to Coffee and Barista skills
  • Voluntary work placement at one of a number of local partner cafes. This will give the participants essential real-world barista experience, putting their new skills to the test as well as building and honing customer service and team-working skills
  • A final half day refresher at our roastery to cover all knowledge and skills gained over the course. Students will leave the programme with their certificate, hands-on experience, and a personal reference from Glen Lyon Coffee and the partner cafe that they worked in.


We are thrilled to be running an expanded programme in this, our second year of supporting the Coffee Academy. Hopefully the time spent learning about coffee kicks off a lifetime of interest in the subject for our participants, and perhaps even leads to a career in the industry.