UnitingCare and Another Life are the perfect blend for barista Samuel

By Emily Toxward

If you’re ever in Toowoomba’s Another Life Coffee and Wares, come and say hello to barista extraordinaire Samuel.

The keen coffee bean has earned his stripes in latte art, as well as responsible service of alcohol, thanks to the support of UnitingCare’s Employment Services.

“I love making coffees, I love cooking, I love Another Life Coffee and I love to be independent at work,” Samuel, 32, says.

UnitingCare employment consultant Sam Ryan helped Samuel secure work at Another Life, which is committed to empowering people with disability by providing them with jobs and opportunities to learn new skills.

“I introduced myself to Another Life Coffee because I had been helping Samuel realise his dream of becoming a barista,” Sam says.

“Together we popped in with his resume and from there we organised a work trial.”

Sam says Samuel has come a long way in the 12 months since he started.

“At the start I was working closely alongside him at the cafe but he’s progressed so well and his confidence levels have grown to such a level that he’s now able to work independently, which he loves.”

Handpicked staff

Cafe manager Bec Mason says having UnitingCare handpick staff saves her the arduous task of trawling through resumes and interviewing candidates. This means she can spend more time growing the business and helping existing staff learn new skills.

“Finding staff can always be a hard task but it’s just a matter of letting UnitingCare know our staffing requirements – whether it be an all-rounder, a cleaner or someone else – and they come back to us with a list of people with those abilities,” Bec says.

UnitingCare’s Sam says when customers are first placed, she provides day-to-day support for them and their employer to ensure everything is running smoothly.

Once a person becomes more independent, such as with Samuel, she pulls back but still makes regular visits, phone calls and emails.

“Bec and I work really well together – she reaches out whenever she needs help or when she needs me to provide further support for one of our clients,” Sam says.

“We’re here to ensure everyone is happy and feels supported in the workplace because we know if they are, businesses will grow and staff will remain productive.”

Find out more about UnitingCare Employment Services.