Monday 08 August 2022

Wellington’s top coffee maker shares passion for coffee

Vocational Pathways, supporting young people to get the qualifications they need

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A Wellington coffee roaster is ensuring that the next generation of young baristas are learning how to make the perfect espresso and café lattes by training secondary school students in the art of ‘caffé’.

Nine local secondary schools are using Mojo’s custom built training facility at Shed 13, which turns out 300 trained baristas a year, to up-skill and prepare for a career in hospitality – starting with an accredited barista course.

Head of Operations and Training at Mojo Coffee (in the picture, the company’s flagship store in Wellington), Massimo Capellino says Mojo Coffee is the only specialty coffee roaster in New Zealand formally accredited to offer the prestigious City and Guilds International Award in Barista.

Training for the International Award takes place at Mojo over three days or students can earn sector related credits through Service IQ, which go toward their NCEA qualifications and a Vocational Pathway Award in the Services Industry.

“The Barista Award is great for anyone entering the industry or wanting to travel,” says Massimo. “Students we train also get to explore the history of coffee and the production processes involved. They watch our Master Roaster work his magic and learn the key attributes needed to make it as a great Barista, from coffee making to customer service.”

Arthur Graves, the Ministry of Education’s Group Manager for Youth Guarantee said of the Mojo training project: “This sort of collaboration between business and education will ensure that school leavers are highly skilled and ‘work ready’. Relevancy in education is crucial, and can only be achieved when industry are actively involved in supporting curriculum decisions. We are encouraging businesses and schools to source similar partnerships around the country. Learning happens both inside and outside of the traditional classroom.”

Massimo says that for him it is very important to help get young people trained in these specialised skills which will help get them into a paying job in hospitality a lot faster, he also explains the benefits for Mojo: “For us, it helps our baristas stay passionate by teaching the next generation and it spreads the love for coffee.”

Mojo Training & Operations Coordinator, Margaret Vermeulen agrees and says there is a big difference between showing someone how to make a coffee on an espresso machine and sharing with them a commitment to make the best coffee.

“We are very passionate about sharing what we do in the specialty coffee industry, and we are proud of it. We want to pass on and instill passion for coffee. It is important to explain to these young students the origin of coffee, show them how we roast to get the perfect bean, get them talking about flavour to recognise what makes a good coffee.

“Some students come in for training as they appreciate good coffee and want to learn more. Then there are others that just want training to get into a job – it is these students that end up discovering how much more there is to know, and that is where the journey begins.”

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