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10 minutes with… Eve Wagg, Founder and Managing Director at Well Grounded

We meet Eve Wagg and find out about Well Grounded, a speciality coffee academy, trainees who have found work in a wide range of careers in the coffee industry and why she’s a bit of a coffee geek!

Well Grounded are keen to hear from Poplar Harca residents who would like to get trained up and access jobs in local cafes.

Can you tell us a bit about Well Grounded?
Well Grounded is a speciality coffee academy. We support people looking for work with the skills, and qualifications to get jobs in the coffee industry.

Those jobs are as baristas – so people who make coffee in cafes. Through our graduate programme we continue to develop peoples’ skills and progress them   into new roles. We now have people working as roasters, who roast coffee from green coffee into the coffee that gets ground and put into cups, to people who quality control coffee, to Head Baristas. So there’s a whole range of jobs in the coffee industry, we give the foundation learning, knowledge, skills and accreditations. For some people it may be a part-time or full time job for a year whilst they study or transition into the next part of their career. For others, they enter a world of coffee that they love and it becomes their career forever!

What can people expect from taking part?
To get the skills you need to access jobs as Baristas and to become passionate about coffee whilst learning a craft and a new skill. So, you can expect to have loads of fun, to do lots of practical work on machines, like latte art, learning how to make a perfect espresso shot, and making filter coffee.

You’ll taste lots of coffee and lots of food as well, plus we go out, all our courses involve going to a roastery, or going to different cafes across London to look at their customer service and quality of products.

We also do an employment programme in some of our courses, where we address the other skills needed to be a barista in the industry. We look at resilience, self-awareness, confidence, teamwork and off course customer service.

Why did you choose Spotlight as a venue?
We chose to set up the Academy at Spotlight, so that we could be at the heart of the local community. It provides the perfect location as it enables us to work with local residents as well as a multitude of local partners and cafes, due to the proximity to a lots of cafes in Canary Wharf and Shoreditch.

We also felt very aligned to the values and vision of Spotlight. So it was a no brainer!

What would you say to people who haven’t thought about a career in coffee?
Loads of people come to us thinking – ‘Coffee? Why coffee?’

For us, coffee represents something special. When you think about having a coffee, or a cup of tea, or a hot chocolate, ultimately what a lot of people think about is sitting around a table, having a chat and connecting with someone – that’s why we love coffee.

From when it’s on a plant in a farm in Ethiopia, to when you’re drinking it in a café or at home with friends and family, it’s a communal process. It’s a diverse process that involves so many different people, and that’s what we’re really passionate about.

So I’d say, come and just have a taster. You’ll see that coffee isn’t just about pressing a button in a shop, but a craft like being a chef. Also, coffee offers a lot of opportunities, as discussed before which you might not have thought of as a career. So why not give it a go and see if it interests you as a job or a passion. What have you got to lose?

 Are there many job opportunities as Baristas?
In the next six years, there are going to be 40,000 jobs as baristas alone, it’s a hugely growing market. It’s the second biggest commodity in the world. The biggest barrier to the industry is the need for staff so what that means is that it’s full of opportunities and jobs.

Once you enter the industry you have the opportunity to grow and develop fast

The majority of people we work with are London Living Wage employers, it’s starting to be seen as a craft and a skill, and it should be. I believe it’s a really important that hospitality is a service that is valued highly, so we’re really keen for pay to increase and improve. We work at a strategic level with employers and government to make that happen.

How can people sign up and what’s the time commitment?
Poplar Harca residents get priority for a number of our programmes, due to Poplar Harca being a key supporter of our work. We have different programmes from one day to ten weeks, which are all on our website – www.wellgroundedjobs.co.uk. These will all be FREE for residents and work on a first come first served basis.

We also run taster sessions that we promote through different organisations working in the area, including Spotlight and Poplar Harca. So, if you’re interested, email us at info@wellgroundedjobs.co.uk and look at our website, all our contact details are there.

There are different programmes, from one day, five days to ten weeks, the two longer ones have a work placement and at least three trials to support getting into work at the end.

Do you have a particular coffee that’s your favourite?
Yes, when you start to get really geeky about coffee you can start to have it black! , so I like black filter coffee, because it means you can really taste all the different flavours in it. But don’t get me wrong – I also love a mocha every now and again.

I wasn’t a coffee geek before – I didn’t know anything about it until I started Well Grounded. People would say ‘can you taste melon in this? and I was like ‘melon?! It just tastes like coffee!’ But, like anything you develop your taste buds and develop those skills, and now I can be heard saying, ooh I can taste grapefruit, or blackcurrant’.

For further information about Well Grounded, please visit:

http://wellgroundedjobs.co.uk/

Interested in joining a course? Contact: info@wellgroundedjobs.co.uk