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Mitie’s catering arm backs social enterprise programme

Well Grounded, London’s first social enterprise to solely focus on developing talent within the Speciality Coffee industry, has partnered with contract caterer, Gather & Gather to offer more opportunities into paid employment within the coffee industry.

Well Grounded, based in East London, supports individuals who may be facing barriers to work, through its specialist coffee training programme, accredited by the Speciality Coffee Association. Well Grounded provides cafes with skilled, passionate and committed employees – 84 per cent of graduates from the scheme have moved into work as Baristas.

The partnership between Well Grounded and Mitie’s catering arm is tackling a growing demand for skilled and talented baristas in the speciality coffee market – the industry predicts there will be 40,000 jobs over the next six years.

Like the rest of the catering sector, Gather & Gather is working hard to recruit and retain quality barista staff and will sponsor a cohort of eight trainees because of this partnership. This collaboration allows both organisations to help each other with training, work placement and then eventual full-time employment at the end of the 10-week programme.  A second tranche of trainees are due to begin the programme in early 2018.

Well Grounded aims to break down the barriers to employment facing anyone struggling to thrive socially and economically.

Eve Wagg, Managing Director, explained: “No person should be trapped through a lack of opportunity. Well Grounded finds, trains and accredits people to become highly skilled and passionate Baristas. We link local unemployed people with local jobs and have recently launched an Academy in Tower Hamlets, which also offers private specialty coffee training. Our network of over 40 employers means we have Well Grounded trained Baristas in cafes across London including Notes Coffee and Dose Espresso. 

“Our work with Gather & Gather is developing their new wave of talent, so if you work at any other of their customer sites a Well Grounded Barista may be serving you your morning latte. When you drink that latte, you’ll be supporting our mission to help end unemployment.”

Rob Fredrickson, Gather & Gather’s Managing Director London & Venues, said: “Working with Eve and her team is not just a great opportunity to be totally committed to mining our own seam of talent. It is a chance to invest in and develop some very talented people who deserve a chance to find work and begin a career in catering and hospitality. Well Grounded has a superb record of connecting people with the skills, training and qualifications they need to break down the social and economic barriers to employment and it is great to be playing a part in that process.”


Zak, 23, from North London, is a trainee on the current programme. Zak is an active member of his local community, and enjoys media, performing arts, theatre and now, to his surprise, specialty coffee:

“I am really enjoying my time with Well Grounded and Gather & Gather, learning more about how to make coffee, where it comes from, and different coffee tasting notes. I have a Moderate Learning Disability on the Autistic Spectrum and have struggled to find employment due to employers not giving me an opportunity. I am confident that I will work well in a team and under pressure in the right environment. Through traineeship I have found a new passion and can’t wait to get into work with Gather & Gather to show off my new skills. Being a barista has given me the platform to achieve my realistic targets. I am in this for the long-term.”

Shiba, 28, a single mum of two from Hillingdon:

“I haven’t worked since having children over eight years ago and have felt very isolated and lonely at home. This training has given me so much more confidence and a chance to practice my English. I’d never been into central London and have now sampled coffees in all the finest cafes in London and made lots of new friends. Working has given me a new start and I’m excited about my future career in coffee.”


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