The quality of vocational learning and vocational relevance has been the subject of much debate in recent years, as documented in numerous inspection reports. Additionally, Design and Technology teachers and learners have sometimes struggled to identify suitable resources and ‘real life’ situations to both enhance and provide evidence for some aspects of the GCSE and NVQ syllabuses. Any opportunity then, which could support GCSE and NVQ students would be extremely well received.
In March 2005 a workshop organised by a local business in Rotherham, presented such an opportunity for pre and post -16 students to gather information, gain an insight into the ‘world of Coffee’ and get a practical opportunity to prepare and pour that ‘perfect’ cup of coffee. This was a pilot project within the borough, but whilst developing it, it was hoped, to roll it out to all schools and colleges thus contributing to raising achievement across the borough, improving student motivation and ultimately facilitating progression to higher level programmes and employment.
It was also hoped that D&T teachers and lecturers would also have the same opportunities as the students to develop expertise and experience in this speciality area of hospitality and catering. Context Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council has 16 secondary schools, 4 special schools and 4 colleges. One of the colleges is a Centre of Vocational Excellence (COVE) for Hospitality and Catering. The Coffee Exchange is a very successful local Rotherham business, providing coffee, training and equipment to several hundred outlets across South Yorkshire.
Barista training is gaining in popularity nationally. It literally means, ‘an Espresso machine operator who understands coffee and the Espresso machine’s purpose’. Most ‘dedicated’ coffee shops, cafe’s and restaurants have a Barista machine and it is likely that during visits we’ve all seen one! Aims and anticipated outcomes The project to organise an enhanced 14-19 activity called for collaboration across the borough, between the LEA, a local business, a Centre of Vocational Excellence and schools and colleges.
The aims of the workshop were to: •Support vocational learning •Introduce the use of coffee making to pre and post – 16 students •Provide Opportunities to practice and develop communication techniques and skills •Develop the confidence of students in relation to practical work •Prepare students for higher education or employment •Empower learners to take an active part in the workshops •Provide a ‘real life’ opportunity •Work with a local employer.
•Meet the individual needs of students •Enhance current GCSE / NVQ courses •Link the training to an accredited additional qualification •Film the training to market and promote the workshop and at the same time provide a useful resource for future training The workshop was a ‘first ‘ for the LEA and local students. From the outset, the key aim of the workshop was to ensure that it promoted learning and attainment for all learners. Strategies used to achieve this aim included:
•The aims and objectives of the workshop were appropriately formulated and articulated to learners – at the beginning of the workshop •Activities were designed to encourage learners to take responsibility for their own learning – group and individual work sessions empowered students to take an active part in learning •Develop evaluation skills and allow students to take an active part in evaluating the workshop – every student had the opportunity to provide feedback on the workshop.
•Sessions were prepared to take into account different learning styles – sessions were organised into group and individual work •Set clear and appropriate tasks and activities – each workshop set clear and appropriate tasks and activities, for example, cleaning and maintaining the Barista machine •Maintain an environment where all learners can learn – the workshop was organised in a ‘state of the art’ Barista Training centre in Rotherham – the Coffee Exchange.
This has excellent training facilities. •Promote effective interaction – after initial demonstrations by the tutor, each student had a opportunity to have a ‘hand –on’ experience, for example, grinding coffee •Ensure learners are appropriately supported, motivated and kept on task to promote achievement of the learning aims and objectives – teachers and lecturers were present during each session. •Provide an appropriate summary at the end of each session – this took place at the end of every workshop.