London College of Fashion has worked with St Giles Trust for two years, supporting their work in the local community by hosting their Brewbird coffee cart at LCF Curtain Road. St Giles Trust works with a wide range of socially excluded people to train them in everything from barista and baking skills, to management and customer service expertise.
Shannon has worked at LCF’s Brewbird cart since last November. She works Wednesday to Fridays and she told us she’s really enjoying it. We caught up with her to find out about how she got the job, what she likes about it and how St Giles’s Trust has helped her.
How did you find out about the job?
I live locally, in east London and I was passing by St Giles one day and I knew they can help you with a lot of different things – from help finding jobs, to housing – everything. I went to see them and originally applied for a job for the new Brewbird Cafe in Camberwell, but because they wanted full time employees I couldn’t do it. Then I got to meet David and Jonathan from Brewbird who told me I could work here at the LCF site part time. They explained everything to me – the hours, how it would work and I accepted it from there.
What were you doing before this?
Before this I had a baby – my daughter is one. After I finished college I worked for 5 years at Haringey council as an administrator, then I had my daughter and now I’m here. I can balance it out now with work and her being at nursery. This is my first time working in a coffee shop.
What have you learned by being here and what do you like most about the job?
My favourite thing about the job though is interacting with the different customers – there’s so many different people at LCF, I like talking to them and learning all about what they’re doing. It’s interesting because you get to see how they make their clothes – trousers, jackets – you see the students go from being really stressed to really calm – you just know they’re working really hard.
I’ve also learned that the secret to making a good coffee is that you have to get the milk right! It’s different from the cappuccino to the latte. I don’t really drink coffee myself but I like making the mocha – it’s got a lovely sweet smell when you add the chocolate and I like the chai. I recently learned what a ‘dirty chai’ is as well – it’s basically a chai latte with a shot of espresso which is really nice.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to stay here at Brewbird for a while longer but I really want to do a criminology course, so that’s my next step. Eventually I want to go to university and study. You know when you watch things like CSI and you can see the way that they figure out how a crime has happened – that’s what I like. I like things that trigger your mind.
How have you found your experience of St Giles Trust?
If I’m not here during university holiday periods I got to the Camberwell site and I’ve met other people that have had help from St Giles as well. I would recommend them to anyone even if it’ s not just for looking for work – even if they just need help or someone to talk to because there’s nothing worse than trying to deal with everything by yourself. They are very helpful and they try to cater to your needs as much as possible.