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Glasgow Coffee Festival unveils scheme to help disadvantaged teens into work

Pupils learning about coffee

THE team behind Scotland’s largest coffee festival has launched the nation’s first ‘coffee scholarship’ to help disadvantaged young people launch careers in the industry. 

Attendees at this weekend’s Glasgow Coffee Festival will help pay for the pioneering project, with profits committed to funding the scheme. 

The scholarship is the product of a new long-term partnership between Glasgow Coffee Festival and Hub International. It will offer in-house training at the global social enterprise’s training deli in Glasgow city centre. 

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Hub International provides training and opportunities for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds around the world to develop skills to thrive in hospitality roles. 

The Coffee Festival partnership – developed with support from Glasgow-based roaster Dear Green – is the first Hub International programme specifically focused on coffee. 

This scholarship will be awarded to budding baristas who are leaving education and are not in work. They’ll start the programme with employability training at the Hub International which covers confidence building, interview preparation, customer service, barista training and hospitality skills. They can also explore every avenue the coffee industry has to offer, from seeing real roasteries to visiting milk producers.

Once training has completed, scholarship recipients will undertake barista work experience. The Glasgow Coffee Festival will cover paid work placements within the coffee industry, where the trainees can build experience in roasting, marketing, sales and any other key avenues they are keen to develop skills in. 

Scholarship recipients will end their scholarship with the opportunity to deliver their own talk at the Glasgow Coffee Festival in 2024. 

Lisa Lawson, founder of Glasgow Coffee Festival and Dear Green Coffee Roasters, said: “Giving something back to the coffee community and Glasgow itself is central to what the festival stands for, and this partnership is the perfect way to do it. 

“Coffee is an amazing industry and there are so many different way to build a career within it. We want to be a massive support to all the young people that will benefit from the scholarship, we’ve already offered training sessions and showed students around our roastery.

“Coffee is an amazing industry and there are so many different ways to build a career within it. “

Mhairi Strohm, head of youth training at Hub International, said: “We want to help bridge the gap between a young person and what they want to do. Our role is to take them on a journey through hospitality that ends with them in a cool job they love.

“The coffee industry is booming, and we want to show young people how exciting and varied a career in it can be – whether working in cafes or becoming a roaster. At the end of the scholarship, we want participants to be equipped with the skills and confidence they need to be super employable and ready for an enriching life in coffee.” 

Glasgow Coffee Festival returns to The Briggait this weekend. Last year, attendees helped to raise over £8,000 to support the humanitarian effort in Ukraine. 

Tickets are still available for Sunday’s sessions and will include presentations, tastings, and plenty of coffee. 

For more information on the businesses involved, and to find out more about the people behind them, visit the Glasgow Coffee Festival website here.

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