A special work taster event aimed at providing young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in the West Midlands with a route to employment has been declared a success by organisers.

Personal development charity Sport 4 Life UK and Boston Tea Party’s first joint skills day on March 17 supported a small group of young people, three of whom have been offered trial shifts and possible traineeships with the national cafe chain.

The event took place at Boston Tea Party’s Edgbaston branch and featured a range of sessions designed to introduce attendees to the different roles within a busy cafe, including barista, customer service and kitchen management.

Sport 4 Life UK provides a range of personal development programmes to people aged between 11 and 29 years old. In addition to sports-themed activities, the charity also builds partnerships with different business sectors to give youngsters chances to find meaningful employment.

The skills day at Boston Tea Party marked the first in a series of activities by the two organisations aimed at supporting young people to develop professional abilities and knowledge and build confidence.

Commenting on the event, Rob Wells, head of business development at Sport 4 Life UK, said: “Our first skills day with Boston Tea Party was a resounding success and it was clear from the way our beneficiaries responded that the event was engaging, informative and, crucially, offered a number of opportunities that perhaps wouldn’t have otherwise materialised. It shows that when young people are given a chance to shine, anything is possible.

“I would like to thank Boston Tea Party for all the work they put into making the event a positive experience and I’m certain that for some of those who attended, this will have been a life-changing moment as they embark on the first steps in a journey towards a new future.”

Sam Roberts, at Boston Tea Party, said: “It’s fantastic to hear that Sport 4 Life’s beneficiaries found the Edgbaston event useful. On the day, we were extremely impressed by their enthusiasm and as a result are keen to continue working with the attendees to support their aspirations for a meaningful and rewarding career. Whether they come to work with us for the long term, or we provide an early stepping stone in a career path, we’re delighted to play a part and make a difference.

“We’ll be continuing to work with Sport 4 Life UK in the coming year in an effort to support more young people into rewarding careers in this exciting sector.”

An independent chain, Boston Tea Party launched in Bristol in 1995 and now has 25 cafes across England. The business is committed to providing careers that build confidence to help all the team be the best they can be, whilst also being accepted for who they are. Boston Tea Party’s family-friendly cafes serve up a range of ethically sourced food and drink. In 2018 they were the first cafe chain in the UK to ban single use coffee cups from their cafes.

Sport 4 Life UK operates out of the Custard Factory, and works with more than 1,000 young people from hard-to-reach neighbourhoods across the region. Established in 2006, the charity exists to provide sports-themed personal development programmes to young people who are not in education, employment or training.

In the 12 months to June 2021, Sport 4 Life UK supported a total of 1,015 youngsters with on and offline mentoring, qualifications, and training programmes, in addition to structured sports sessions. Businesses interested in working with Sport 4 Life UK to support young people should go to: www.sport4life.org.uk/work-with-us/