BUDDING baristas will help feed the city’s coffee addiction thanks to a groundbreaking project involving leading independent cafés.

The apprenticeship scheme is the first type of its kind in the country and offers unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds the chance to find a career in the increasingly sought-after profession.

Research revealed last year that Brightonians are the biggest coffee drinkers in the UK, spending an average £177 per head per year.

The Professional Barista Apprenticeship in Speciality Coffee has been set up by One Church Brighton, Taylor St Baristas and Small Batch Coffee Company with support from Portslade Aldridge Community Academy.

Demand for speciality, quality coffee made by skilled baristas has exploded across the city’s expanding range of independent coffee shops.

Part of charity One Church Brighton’s base in Gloucester Place, has been turned into a barista school for ten apprentices to get weekly practical training for the one-year course.

They will spend the rest of the week on placement at nine cafes where they are expected to take up permanent positions.

The project is the brainchild of former US political journalist and coffee enthusiast Ben Szobody.

He said: “I wanted to bring together my two passions – quality coffee and engaging people in the community through food and drink.

“What I needed was the space to do it and the expertise and support to help make it a reality. When I talked to Taylor Street and Small Batch they really bought into the idea of giving young unemployed people access to a potential career in something completely different and supporting the unique and thriving cafe sector we have in the city.

“One Church offers a brilliant building and a willingness to use it for the city’s needs.

“Ultimately, we want to grow the apprenticeship to engage with more local unemployed young people and more cafes not just in Brighton but across Sussex.”

Andrew Tolley, co-founder of Taylor St. Baristas, added: “We have a skills gap in the speciality coffee sector that no colleges are currently able to fill. The cafes have the knowledge and expertise, but training is expensive.

“The apprenticeship aims to fill that gap, taking industry expertise and targeting people looking to work in a dynamic and progressive sector.

“It encompasses all the skills that are the foundation to a career in coffee. Technical skills, sensory skills, coffee knowledge, customer service and functional Maths and English are all covered. It is an opportunity to join the most dynamic and exciting part of the coffee industry. Best of all, it is accessible to everyone.”

Cafes and young people interested in being part of the apprenticeship should e-mail brightonbarista@gmail.com or follow @probaristas on Twitter.

Cafes taking part

Taylor St. Baristas – Brighton
Small Batch Coffee Co – Brighton
Redwood Café – Brighton
Café Coho – Brighton
Silo – Brighton
Nelson Coffee Co – Eastbourne
Proper Cycling & Coffee – Hassocks
Harris and Hoole – Horley