SCHOOLKIDS in East Renfrewshire have been learning barista skills after coffee-making was added to the curriculum.

Every facet of coffee-making is covered, from roasting to serving, before students are taught how to make everything from a latte to a macchiato.

The latter part of the 28-week Introduction to Barista Skills course includes a work placement, where pupils are given on-the-job experience and tutored on punctuality and dealing with members of the public.

The project is being piloted in East Renfrewshire by social enterprise company Greenhouse Community, which aims to run it in schools across the country.

Pupils from S3 to S6 learn about the origins of coffee and how it is grown.

Greenhouse Community provides catering facilities for local authorities, public bodies and private employers, offering training and employment opportunities for staff with learning difficulties and mental health issues.

Dr Ciaran McMorran, the company’s training manager, said: “Commercial coffee chains have their own, in-house training schemes but nobody has done barista training in schools until now, so most people who apply for jobs in cafes have no experience of the industry.

“The course is by no means a soft option and trainees face many challenges. It’s one thing being able to make a coffee but working in a high-pressure environment is not for everybody.”

At the end of the course, pupils are taught ‘soft skills’ such as how to prepare a CV, apply for a job and behave in an interview situation.

Linda Clinton, a youth workforce co-ordinator for East Renfrewshire Council, said the course is “like magic dust.”

She added: “As coffee is so fashionable at the moment, young people can relate it to the jobs market because they see it advertised so often.”

Beth Wood left Barrhead High School last Christmas to begin a vocational course with the aim of helping her find a job as an air hostess. She began the Introduction to Barista course in March as a way of adding to her skillset.

“I’m really enjoying the course and it’s done wonders for my confidence,” she said. “Working as an air hostess means dealing with the public every day and serving them food and drinks and this course hits several of those buttons.”

Beth, 16, said the most important thing she has learned is how to behave in a professional environment.

She added: “I have learned all the technical skills of making coffee, including how to use machinery and the importance of organisation and hygiene, but I’d say the most important thing for me has been learning how to engage with customers and colleagues, taking orders and following instructions.”

Aaron Murray, 17, also left Barrhead High last year and is enjoying the Introduction to Barista Skills Course, learning in the vocational kitchen at his old school and on work experience at the Greenhouse Community Café at Barrhead Foundry.

He said: “I don’t even drink coffee and neither do my friends, so I don’t spend any time in coffee shops, but when I heard about the course, it seemed like an interesting thing to learn, so I thought I’d give it a go.

“I’m a naturally shy person but the course has forced me to engage with members of the public.”

Read the latest from Barrhead and beyond