“If you want to prepare young people for the modern world of work a coffee shop has a lot of value,” says teacher Paul Ursell after recently taking his Post 16 students from Laleham Gap to Cliffs cafe in Cliftonville.
During the visit Mr Ursell’s students got to go behind the counter, make some coffees and also question the two baristas, Jack and Josh, about their job.
“A couple of my students were thinking about becoming baristas. It was great they found out how to make a delicious coffee, do their own tamping and then go upstairs and chat about what we had learnt. But most important is what they got from questioning Jack and Josh.”
The two staff told them how they might get started as a barista and what might look good on their CV. They explained that being both calm and friendly when chatting to customers were as important ingredients as good coffee. You need to work well in a team and work well under pressure.
As the ‘Latte learners’ from Laleham Gap were leaving Josh told them “You might not be taking our jobs yet but you made some great coffees today. And asked even better questions!” Jack added: “I really enjoyed answering your questions about the skills required to be a good barista. They are skills that transfer so well to so many service industry jobs.”
Mr Ursell said it was great it that the staff and owners of Cliffs were so willing to devote the time to helping young people learn about life skills and working. “When I go back to Laleham Gap Post 16 building not only can I expect an even better coffee, but I can guarantee my students know a little bit more about the world of work.”