Aspirations training programme launches at local Christchurch café.

Every Tuesday afternoon five young adults meet at Crafted Coffee Co, to participate in a hospitality training programme run by Aspirations, the brain child of two UC students.

Jacintha Michael and Jess Scarsbrook were motivated by the change that they could bring with the training programme that focuses on empowering young people with learning disabilities to gain a variety of work skills in real cafes.

“We understand that there are a lot of people with learning disabilities who want to work … this would be a good way for them to move into community cafes and help them to secure a job,” Michael said.

The pair met at the UCE EY summer startup programme, where Scarsbrook first shared her idea. From there they worked on developing the programme to make it sustainable.

Partnering up with Mark Chirnside, owner of Crafted Coffee Co, the training programme runs over a year, separated into four 10 week blocks.

Chirnside said he had been roasting coffee for 11 years, and he was passionate about educating people on the coffee he roasts and produces, as well as teaching them how to make it.

“I think … there’s always a narrative that they (children with learning disabilities) can’t do things and this provides them to gain skills in a context where they can actually serve other people.

It’s always people serving them and they all value the opportunity to give back and serve their parents, their friend and the community at large.”

Aspirations will be hosting a showcase and fundraiser on Sunday, September 30, from 2pm-4pm, at the café on Blenheim Road where the programmes participants will have the opportunity to put their skills to the test.