Fair Shot Cafe’s Step Up to Traineeship Programme comes to an end this week and what a phenomenal start it has been. Ten weeks ago, the Fair Shot Cafe took on fourteen inclusive learning students from West London College, keen to gain experience in the hospitality sector. The students started lessons in English, maths and digital skills as well as training in coffee making, cash till and interview skills.
Fair Shot Cafe is a unique social enterprise cafe that will bring training and future employment to disabled young adults in Hammersmith and Fulham in the setting of a high-end stylish coffee shop. Fair Shot cafes offer Traineeships to help young people transition to Apprenticeships and finally to permanent paid employment. The Fair Shot cafe focuses on 16-24-year-olds who have mild to moderate learning disabilities. This group are very capable, needing only a little support and are the most likely to find sustainable employment. 50% of the Fair Shot Cafe workforce have disabilities.
Fair Shot Cafe Director, Bianca Tavella, says: “Every single one of these students has exceeded my expectations and has made me more excited than ever to be on this Fair Shot Journey. Eleven weeks on seven out of eleven students can independently work on the till and make a cup of coffee. The remaining 4 have a little more complex needs which we will continue working on in 2021.”
Yousef is one of the Fairshot trainees. He is mainly non-verbal, favouring one-syllable words to communicate. At the start of the programme, he was very shy and anxious, yet extremely keen.
As the weeks went by, Yousef really built up his confidence and his ability to ask for help. During his training, Yousef reached a huge turning point. He made coffee by himself – grinding the coffee, making the shot, frothing and pouring the milk.
Once every task was completed he let out a huge sigh of relief and whispered to himself ‘I am so proud’.
This was an unforgettable moment for Bianca, who said: “It just proved everything that we have been fighting for. The trainees are completely able and gifted employees, they just need the chance and someone to believe in them!”
Head of Inclusive Learning at West London College, Sue Jenkins, said: “This is an amazing opportunity for our students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and they have already exceeded expectations in what they have achieved. It’s great coffee too!”
A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities, that will affect someone for the whole of their life. Examples of learning disabilities are Down’s Syndrome, Asperger’s and cerebral palsy. 93% of adults with disabilities are unemployed in the UK compared to an unemployment rate of 3.7% amongst non-disabled adults.
COVID-19 has meant everything takes much longer, but Fair Shot is proud of what they have accomplished despite an ongoing pandemic. Fair Shot aims to have everything ready to go early in the new year.