Truly lifechanging coffee

BusyBeanAimBig CEO, Marcella Romero

A new café in Gosford is serving up some truly lifechanging coffee, courtesy of a new program designed to provide skills and job opportunities for people living with disability.

The BusyBeans Café at Gosford is the first café on the Coast to take part in AimBig Disability Employment Services’ BusyBeans program, which provides jobseekers with disability the chance to gain valuable work experience and barista skills.

Twenty people with various disabilities have signed on for the inaugural program which officially launched on November 27. AimBig CEO, Marcella Romero, said programs like BusyBeans were becoming increasingly important to help jobseekers with a disability find pathways into employment.

“BusyBeans aims to challenge the stark unemployment figures in Australia for people living with a disability, particularly those with an intellectual disability or autism. “Sadly, almost half of people with a disability are unemployed.

“For those with autism, the rate of unemployment skyrockets to three times the rate of people with disability and almost six times the rate of people without disability. “We want to change that, ” Romero said.

The program also challenges perceptions about what people with a disability are capable of. A unique feature is the bespoke nature of the program and way it centres around the individual and their strengths. “BusyBeans is bigger than coffee. “Employment gives people a sense of purpose and a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

“The program is about social inclusion and giving people a chance to fully participate in their community, ” Romero said. “Most of the people placed in the program would not survive in a normal fast pace café environment, but through training, support and working to a person’s strengths, we are really seeing our participants thrive, ” she added.

The BusyBeans program was piloted in December in Sydney and is now rolling out nationally. An innovative part of the program is engaging workplaces around Australia to employ a BusyBeans barista inhouse after participants have been trained. “BusyBeans has the potential reach to thousands of workplaces Australia-wide. “Through the program, workplaces are provided with their own barista, a coffee machine and a tablet with a custom designed app to process orders and notify staff when their coffee is ready, ” Romero said.

“The program aligns to the strengths of people with autism and intellectual disabilities who often do well with repetitive tasks, but the digital app compensates for common challenges like short term memory and multi-tasking “Many organisations don’t know how to take the first step in employing someone with a disability.

“This is a new way of approaching it. “A key advantage for companies is around workplace culture and the value that these individuals bring. “Companies also get supported through subsidies from the Federal Government, ” Romero said. “Our BusyBeans are so grateful to have an opportunity to work and their joy shines through. “What a great way to start the day knowing you are giving someone an opportunity in life. “Please drop by for a coffee to support our wonderful baristas, ” Romero said.

Source: Media release, Nov 27 Ricci Smith, AimBig Employment