Caffeine high – Engen empowers unemployed youth with Barista training

Caffeine high – Engen empowers unemployed youth with Barista training
Future Baristas Wentworth residents - Leah Williams, Nicole Allan and Chelsea Damos

Twenty unemployed South Durban residents will soon be brewing cappuccino and espresso like pros after undergoing barista training, courtesy of a community development partnership between Engen and the Blue Roof Life Space (BRLS). 

Aged between 18 and 35, the first 20 candidates will learn the techniques and skills required to become qualified Baristas, thereby boosting their chances of securing employment in the hospitality and/or coffee industry.

The programme commenced on 21 November 2022 with the first of four groups of trainees embarking on their two-week theoretical and practical training, which includes real life work experience at the BRLS internet café and at other selected venues.

All 20 trainees will also receive customer service training, basic business skills training, and mentoring to prepare them for every element of the coffee industry.

Sykry Hassim, the General Manager of the Engen Refinery says that Engen and BRLS share a common goal as both organisations fully appreciate the benefit of quality skills training and on the job work experience. 

“As a caring and responsible company, Engen is humbled to play a small role in positively changing the lives of young community members who reside in an area close to the Engen Refinery by offering them a marketable skill in a thriving industry.”  

According to Tom Butterworth, BRLS General Manager, the hospitality industry offers a wide range of opportunities which can help previously unemployed individuals break out of damaging cycles. 

“With the Festive Season fast approaching, these new skills will provide a golden opportunity for qualified baristas to secure meaningful employment in South Africa’s thriving coffee culture economy. 

Adds Butterworth: “We are also extremely proud to partner with Engen to help provide our youth with the on-the-job training, skills and experience required to enter one of the largest employment sectors in South Africa.” 

With the four groups of five receiving training over the next four weeks, all successful candidates will be invited to attend a graduation ceremony during the week of 19 -23 December.

Engen champions nine of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 4 – Quality Education, which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and training and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all; and SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth, which aims to promote inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.  

Amongst a multitude of targeted social investments in South Durban, the well-known Engen Computer School, which frequently boasts a waiting list, upskills unemployed school-leavers and unemployed community members who reside in the area. 

 The Engen Computer School has been transforming lives in South Durban for 13 years and has to date capped 2 504 graduates. 

Engen is also a long-time supporter of education in Durban through its Engen Maths and Science Schools (EMSS), which seek to address South Africa’s key skills shortages in the engineering and technical fields, thereby contributing to the economic growth and transformation of the country. 

In KwaZulu-Natal, the EMSS programme offers additional Maths, Science and English tuition every Saturday to under-privileged learners from grades 10-12 at Fairvale High School, Ganges High School, Hill Secondary School, and Mangosuthu University of Technology. 

Operating for over 30 years, the EMSSs measure of success is an annual matric class that consistently surpasses the national average of successful learners and learners who matriculate with a bachelor’s pass. 

The Blue Roof Life Space is a Keep A Child Alive managed facility that provides a range of services and interventions to children, youth and their families in the surrounding South Durban communities.