Awen Cultural Trust is working in partnership with fellow social enterprise Boss & Brew Academy to launch ‘From the Ground Up’, a series of free barista training courses at the Met in Abertillery, Blaenau Gwent. The first two courses, which are open to anyone aged 16 and over, will take place from 10am – 3pm on 6th – 7th November and 13th – 14th November. They aim to give participants an introduction to the speciality coffee industry and the skills and confidence to find employment.

Since Boss & Brew Academy was established by former maths teacher Natalie Hodgkinson in 2021, almost 100 young people from across the southern areas of Cardiff have received barista training and employability support. Boss & Brew has also collaborated with the Grange Pavilion Youth Forum and Grangetown Hub on The Training Ground Project, to set up Cardiff’s first youth-led café and a dedicated coffee committee panel of young people who run the business.

Together with ‘Awen Tech’ and ‘Write Now’, ‘From the Ground Up’ forms part of the Awen Skills initiative, a programme of free workplace training courses funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in partnership with Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council. They are designed to equip participants with many of the practical skills and understanding needed to break into the rapidly growing creative and food and drink industries.


Chief Executive of Awen Cultural Trust, Richard Hughes, said:

“We are excited to be partnering with Boss & Brew Academy to deliver these community-based learning opportunities from the Met in Abertillery to local, unemployed people. With the UK coffee market seeing significant growth in recent years, and a major shift towards premium and speciality coffees, From the Ground Up is ideal for anyone interested in working as a professional barista, or even thinking of setting up their own cafe, but has little or no previous experience.

“As a registered charity, Awen’s purpose is to ‘make people’s lives better’ and Boss & Brew Academy’s social goals of tackling youth unemployment, improving the mental wellbeing and confidence of young people and raising and promoting diversity and representation, is an excellent fit with our work to support and empower individuals living in Blaenau Gwent with a whole host of new transferable skills.”


Natalie Hodgkinson of Boss & Brew added:

“‘Coffee in one hand, and confidence in the other’, has become somewhat of a mantra at Boss & Brew. Whilst it’s true that we are slightly obsessed with coffee, coffee is really the medium we use to boost confidence and raise aspirations, whatever our trainees go on to do next. It’s about creating a space where people can explore something new, meet new people, gain skills and confidence, and consider their next steps with optimism and purpose. We are so excited to be partnering with Awen and look forward to bringing our barista training program to Blaenau Gwent!”


Places for From the Ground Up will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a short online form on Awen’s website for participants to register their interest: