Specialist school opens cafe with help from are-able Charitable Trust

THE community will be able to enjoy afternoon tea and coffee at the Mildura Specialist School as it prepares to open its own cafe.
Throughout this year students have been brushing up on their barista skills and learning how to make the perfect coffee.

Team leader of the senior school Kathryn John said the social enterprise would allow students with a disability to gain training and experience before entering the workforce.

“Aside from learning specific skills required to be a barista, they will gain all sorts of other skills including serving customers and learning how to dress for a job,” Ms John said.

“What they’ll learn in the cafe will be transferable to other businesses and equip them for life after school.”

The cafe will be located in one of the school’s stand-alone buildings and has already been equipped with a commercial coffee machine and hot and cold display units following several grants, but there’s still a way to go before it’s fully functional.

This week the school received $9746 in funding from are-able Employment Charitable Trust which assists people with disabilities achieve employment or access to employment opportunities.

are-able Employment’s Ethan Fox said the funding would be used to purchase furniture and a dishwasher for the cafe.

“are-able is very pleased to support a project like the Mildura Specialist School Cafe,” Mr Fox said.
“It will allow students to gain confidence and real skills to set them up for future employment.”

The school’s senior students from 15 to 18 years old will have the option of working in the cafe, with many already well on their way to acquiring some helpful skills by undertaking a Certificate II in Kitchen Operations.

As part of the certificate they prepare and serve lunch out of the school’s canteen each Friday. Upon opening of the cafe next year, it will cater for afternoon tea which will be available to the whole community.