Gabe has always dreamt of being a Barista. Through the efforts of two4nine’s Community Connection project, which links people with learning disabilities to volunteering and educational opportunities in the community, Gabe has landed the opportunity of gaining work experience at the Coffee Club in West Auckland. Gabe started with this business in September 2016 and his duties include; learning how to use the coffee machine by making coffees for his colleagues and himself, delivering food and beverages to customers, clearing tables, customer service and kitchen duties. Gabe had previously completed a Barista course and had some experience in the hospitality field though not in a café.
Gabe says that the best part of his job is serving the customers and making coffee. Gabe knows that the franchisee Saten Sharma has been very important in making this opportunity so successful. ‘He is a fantastic person to work for. I’m really happy I’m working with him.’ He also noted that Karissa and Jessica (staff at the Coffee Club) have been very helpful in his learning how to use the professional coffee machine and giving him tips on how to improve his skills. ‘They make me feel part of the team and we all like working together’. His colleagues have said that Gabe makes a great cup of coffee and is learning how to use the complicated coffee machine. Saten has indicated that this will soon turn into a paid position and that is something that Gabe is very excited about. Saten says that Gabe is great at making people feel welcome and that he has received many positive comments about Gabe’s service. Saten certainly feels Gabe is an asset to the Coffee Club team.
In 2016 Kat began her studies at Unitec in the mainstream Certificate in Horticulture Level and on completion of this mid-year, Kat was offered a place in the Level 2 Certificate in Primary Industries. The two4nine Community Connections project facilitated, not only day to day support in regard to problem solving but also transport and liaison with Unitec tutors and management to ensure inclusion was successful. In the horticulture program Kat learnt about the types of plants, how they grow, the function of roots and leaves as well as soil technology and the management of pests and diseases. In Primary Industries she learnt about tools, the care of these and the practical implementation of the skills she learnt in the Horticulture program. Kat worked diligently on course and studied hard, gaining excellent marks in her exams. She has caught the education ‘bug’ and at the end of 2016 applied to do the Certificate in Animal Care Level 3. Kat was accepted into this course for 2017 as an adult learner after studying for three entry exams and participating in an interview. Kat is appreciated and well liked by the other students and in turn puts down some of her success to the support from Julie one of her lecturers and Denise from the transport agency, Driving Miss Daisy who Kat says encouraged her on a daily basis and ensured she got to Unitec on time thus making sure she was in a great mood on arrival at her course. Kat wants to make sure Suzanne from two4nine is acknowledged for all her hard work in making this community connection so fulfilling and life changing.