Coffee and community

Welcome to the third and final post in our series on “The power of coffee”. The first blog post explored the ways in which coffee can be an empowering tool for personal transformation and the second reviewed the impact of connecting the industry with a diverse talent pool. For part three we’ll be focusing on the third part of our vision: the power of coffee to create a stronger and more connected community.

Our graduate community

When a Well Grounded trainee graduates they not only become part of the coffee industry community but part of our very own, tight-knit graduate community. In order to keep this thriving we run events such as monthly graduate refresher sessions where old and new graduates come back to training to develop their learning, build their networks, but most importantly, it’s an opportunity for them to see each other again, catching up on barista life, exchanging top tips and finding comfort in similar experiences of stressful days and tough customers. We run regular socials and networking events (think mock interviews, cuppings session) we send out regular newsletters to our graduates on current jobs, industry events and news. We also are starting to run further level qualifications. What’s more – it’s completely free. 

These connections translate further afield. A group of South London Graduates for instance, formed a South London Coffee Crew, visiting different recommended cafes every week. As a means in which to stay connected, to share the highs and lows of Barista life, and to prevent loneliness this group has now adopted new members who they’ve met at our graduate events. This is just one example of how our graduate community not only connects with each other but the area in which they live.

Check out photos from our latest event.

Our local community

Well Grounded began through a belief that new coffee shops should provide both employment opportunities for local people as well as venues for the local community to connect with each other. Therefore, a big part of what we do is working with our own local community in Poplar, where our current training academy is located.

Many of our trainees are from the borough of Tower Hamlets and we’ve partnered with 14 employers within a 1-mile radius of our training centre, linking them with our well-trained graduates and new customers. We believe this community cohesion is incredibly important in creating a highly skilled and connected local community.

Some examples:

  • Individual connections: Pam joined Well Grounded as a trainee in June 2018 and is now working as a barista at a local specialty coffee in Poplar. At a recent meeting with Pam she stated how she had walked past the cafe and never thought she would be able to get a coffee there, let alone work there. Now she and her friends are regular customers and she works part-time with a team she now proudly calls her ‘close friends’.
  • Work placement hours: We have facilitated over 2,900 work placement hours connecting our trainees with meaningful work experience in their local cafes. This is not only a real asset to the local businesses but builds a sense of community and connection across a changing and diverse borough. Take for instance, a recent trainee who completed work experience at Bow Brew Cafe in Mile End, he took this experience to unlock a job at Argos as a Sales Assistant.
  • Community Events: Last year we ran 22 community events, from coffee stands at local community centres to training for local community groups working in the area. Not only are we building the love of specialty coffee but this also helps us reach members of the community that would never of thought of coffee for a career. We are proud to be based in Poplar, Tower Hamlets and after 18months are now very much part of the fabric of the local community.

We hope this series on the power of coffee has helped to explain why coffee is our tool of choice to empower the individual and create a strong sense of community whilst providing the best talent possible to a growing and thriving industry.

Let us know if there is anything more you think we can be doing to achieve any of the above.