How Kettering coffee shop is helping youngsters gain work and confidence

Colombia Rose opened in September in Gold Street

Wednesday, 8th December 2021, 5:03 am

A Kettering coffee shop owner who helps young people into the world of work has spoken of his pride of their job training programme.

Colombia Rose opened in Gold Street in September and has since been offering job training for staff through the Department of Work and Pensions Kickstart Scheme.

The scheme provides funding to create new jobs for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment.

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Syan Bishop and Phillip Osborne

Carl Knight from Corby founded Colombia Rose part of the Corfee coffee shop chain in Nottingham in July 2020, rapidly expanding to three further East Midland locations - Leicester, Northampton and Bedford - before starting up in Kettering.

The 35-year-old said: "Working through the Kickstart Scheme has allowed young people get employability skills with barista training, health and safety and customer service.

"We get referrals from the job centre and attend job fairs where we recruit candidates. The spirit of the scheme is to get young people back to work who have been on Universal Credit.

"We get grants for training them - our only real requirement is that they want to work and take on new skills and become a barista."

Staff with manager Rebecca Trotter and Carl Knight CEO

Each recruit works for 25 hours a week completing food hygiene certificates, GDPR, Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH), basic first aid and dispute resolution training during the six-month long placement.

Shop manager Rebecca Trotter has been working with the chain since they opened in Leicester and has seen the young trainees flourish.

She said: "These are skills that they can take all over the world. It's all about confidence building. People's confidence have blossomed. People with social anxiety think of this place as their safe space. Others who, when they came they just whispered, a couple of months later they are having conversations with customers.

"We want them to be able to go out into full-time work with the skills we have given them. I feel very proud of the young people, watching them grow, getting the skills and being able to serve people."

Staff are trained to use the coffee machine and other transferrable skills

Across the sites, 60 young people people have been through the scheme.

Kettering's Phillip Osborne, 21, has been working at the cafe for two months. He had worked in warehouses but during the pandemic lost his job, staying at home for eight months.

He said: "I like meeting new people and having more of a social life than I do at home. I want to take it to another company or overseas and get into another barista-style job.

"Before I felt isolated - it's my perfect job."

William Paterson likes working in the coffee shop

Syan Bishop swapped her bar tender job in Kettering for a role at Colombia Rose.

The 22-year-old said: "I wanted to do something different. I would like to own my own cafe-bar in Korea - bring a bit of Britain over there. I really like being a barista."

William Paterson, also 22, lives with Tourette's syndrome and found his condition, that causes him to have physical twitches, difficult in his previous roles.

He said: "Working in a cafe certainly suits me better. It's a good environment and I can be myself. It's much easier for me to work here than in a warehouse. It's the first company I have worked for that has accepted me for my tics. If I need help I can just ask for it."

Boss Carl added: "We are fully inclusive. We see the scheme as a win-win. They get training and then they can go out and get a job. I feel very proud."

Inside Colombia Rose