Left to right – Eve our Founder with a panel of graduates, Gabriel, Louise, Rasha & Aashifa at London Coffee Festival

Building a Coffee Community

A few weeks ago we launched our three-part series which addressed how we use coffee as a tool to empower individuals, benefit the coffee industry and create a sense of community.  The first in the series, The Power Of Coffee, discussed how coffee has the power to transform individuals. In this post, we’ll discuss how we connect individuals to the coffee industry in our vision of a society where people are thriving socially and economically, in a diverse, dynamic and nurturing coffee community.

Well Grounded grew from the belief that with changing communities we should ensure local people could access local jobs at the coffee shops around their homes.  To enable this, we connect the industry to a new wave of talent and build professional networks and communities. We believe that together we can cultivate a diverse, passionate coffee community with our trainees at the heart.

Connecting through work and work placements

Many of our trainees will complete a work placement with one of our employment partners. This gives our trainees the opportunity to apply their skills in a ‘real life’ situation, but most importantly gives them the ability to strengthen their soft skills (confidence, resilience, self-awareness and teamwork).

For employers, it is a low-risk way to access talent whilst giving back to the local community. Employers welcome through their doors individuals often excluded from normal recruitment lines, maybe due to a lack of confidence or experience.

Rasha making coffee during her work placement at Notes

Many of our trainees go onto work with their work placement providers. For others, we will then place our Graduates with our network of employment partners. We truly believe recruiting through us has a long-term impact on our employers.

“We’ve been working with Well Grounded since 2016 and have not looked back. Not only have we accessed local staff who are well trained and passionate, but I’ve personally found the experience very fulfilling. I’ve seen the impact getting into work can have on their lives, and this is both humbling and empowering for me as a manager. Well Grounded is my first port of call when I’m looking for staff.” Robert Robinson, Operations Director, Notes

Connecting through training and events

Developing professional networks, and building ‘social capital’, is essential to professional development. For many of our trainees, this often feels out of their grasp. For this reason, developing strong professional relationships is something we start to do early on with our training, with events such as our Industry Roundtable, roastery visits, cafe tours and pop up events.

Our industry roundtable involves a panel of professionals who come to have lunch with our trainees, to inspire them with the real range of opportunities the industry can offer and the sense of community it can bring. But it’s a two-way thing. Our panel members leave ‘inspired’ and ‘energised’ by our passionate and committed trainees and their stories.

Another example of this, is our end of traineeship pop-up events where our trainees run a cafe for industry employers, Well Grounded partners and supporters. These events provide a chance for our trainees to showcase their coffee talents whilst meeting experts in the field. It’s also a great chance for employers to meet new talent.

Tom giving a talk on roasting profiles to coffee industry professionals

Whether a cupping at Square Mile, sessions on gender equality, sustainability talks, public speaking at industry events or volunteering at London Coffee events,  we ensure our Graduates are aware and can connect to industry events and vice versa. Our partners such as La Marzocco, Brewed By Hand, Gather & Gather and others have come to us for volunteers and staffing solutions for events, competitions and magazine content.  Aashifa has recently written an article in Caffeine and Rasha is profiled in Coffee Business World.

Connecting to structural change

An example of our connection to the wider coffee community is our work over the past couple of years to develop a Head Barista apprenticeship, an example of the way the industry has come together to explore a structured way to create a pathway into employment within coffee. Way back when Eve started Well Grounded, she had the idea of a government-backed coffee apprenticeship which is now chaired by Caffe Nero and backed by everyone from larger chains to small independents. With the apprenticeship levy this idea has become ever more important, with companies looking to invest in their people.

We believe the barista role is a stepping stone to all of the really great opportunities the world of coffee has to offer. At Well Grounded we hope to connect a diverse group of talent with a thriving and nurturing industry. Let us know if there is anything else we can do to achieve this.

Written by Eve Wagg, Founder & CEO. Published 29th October 2018