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Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Future looks sweet for baristas

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Freshly brewed and ready to go: CatholicCare Disability Educator TJ Masima, at left, joins Barista graduates Tom and Thuy and CatholicCare Disability Educators Ken So and Anastacia Tohi at the launch of the new coffee van. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Freshly brewed and ready to go: CatholicCare Disability Educator TJ Masima, at left, joins Barista graduates Tom and Thuy and CatholicCare Disability Educators Ken So and Anastacia Tohi at the launch of the new coffee van. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Whether she’s whipping up a cappuccino, espresso, macchiato or a simple flat white, Thuy is brewing herself a bright future.

One of the first graduates of a new program established by CatholicCare Sydney, she is grinding her way to a career in the much-sought-after hospitality industry.

Thuy has become a BariStar, working in the mobile coffee van which provides training and employment skills for people with a disability.

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Launched last week by CatholicCare Sydney’s CEO Alastair McGibbon and with a blessing by Bishop Terence Brady, it will service workplaces during the week and weekend sporting fixtures in the future.

“The ability to serve a cup of coffee is taken for granted by so many, and it is a testament to the passion and dedication of each participant …”

Mr McGibbon said that while barista-made coffee and food will be the focus, BariStars provides innovative learning opportunities for people living with a disability.

“The ability to serve a cup of coffee is taken for granted by so many, and it is a testament to the passion and dedication of each participant that our brand new BariStars are preparing drinks and serving customers with tremendous enthusiasm and enough pride to power the coffee trailer all week,” he said.

“We often refer to those in our Supported Employment program as Sydney’s happiest workers, and today we add multi-skilled as they have undertaken the training needed to stand up and learn a new range of responsibilities.

Fellow worker Tom helps Thuy, at right, cut the ribbon and officially open the new BariStars mobile coffee van. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Fellow worker Tom helps Thuy, at right, cut the ribbon and officially open the new BariStars mobile coffee van. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

“The BariStars mobile coffee trailer already commits to service a local business five mornings a week, and I believe it will find itself in high demand once the word spreads.

“Bankstown Sports Club generously provided a mobile coffee cart, coffee machine, and grinder for training purposes, and Vittoria Coffee generously gifted two additional coffee machines and two grinders for the mobile trailer, along with a six-month supply of coffee beans and other equipment, ensuring the aspiring baristas are guaranteed to serve only the finest coffee.”

Thuy, a former factory worker, said quite simply “it’s the best job I’ve ever had”.

“I love both coffee and milkshakes and I am telling all my friends about the course so they can do it too and we can all work together.”

“I love it, I have a certificate now and I can make coffee for everyone,” she grinned. “I like my new uniform and working with my friends and listening to music.

“I love both coffee and milkshakes and I am telling all my friends about the course so they can do it too and we can all work together.”

Traditionally offering training in gardening and cleaning services, the NDIS Supported Employment program, in conjunction with CatholicCare Sydney’s Disability Services, hopes the mobile coffee trailer will not only become a financially viable business, but also one that increases the wellbeing of all BariStars participants.

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