Costa has introduced a coffee qualification for unemployed people and its first two ‘barista maestros’ have graduated.
The Aylesbury High Street store has teamed up with public services provider A4e to train long-term unemployed people over eight weeks.
Lessons on the training course, unique to Aylesbury, are delivered by employees from the store through Jobcentre Plus.
Coffee production from field-to-cup as well as practical in-store training makes up the course content.
Matthew Wright, 34, from Tring, who took time off work to look after his three children, is delighted to have graduated from the course.
He said: “I was desperate to go back to work and getting more and more depressed.
“But after only a couple of weeks on the course I started feeling my confidence, enthusiasm and motivation grow.
“The course was so well designed and presented. It was really fascinating and inspiring.”
Stephen Cobbold, 23, from North Martston, said: “I had been unemployed for almost a year and I was really pleased to be invited on the course because I love coffee and have lots of experience in retail.
“The course was brilliant. I didn’t know there was so much to learn about coffee.”
Ian Lindon, course organiser and trainer at A4e, said: “We are delighted that unemployed people in the Aylesbury area are benefiting from Costa’s expertise.
“We limited the first course to 12 and the feedback has been excellent.
“But I hope this partnership will now equip many learners with tangible skills and valuable experience that will translate into real employment opportunities.”
Store manager Tanino Romano said: “A full training book and certificate can be used to secure sustainable employment opportunities at Costa and beyond.”
All costs are met by Costa and anyone can apply who is currently unemployed in Aylesbury, by speaking to their JCP Advisor.