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Devon Training Café Helps 30 People Further Their Careers

January 7, 2022

A training café in south Devon that opened in 2020 has helped 30 people with additional needs get into jobs or further education, managers have said.

The No Limits Café in Newton Abbot is helping people make the transition into paid work through training and support.

Government research said fewer than 10% of adults with learning disabilities were in paid employment.  

Staff at the project said their example could show other potential employers the “benefits of a diverse workforce”.

Sarah Thorp, director of the café, which is a community interest company (CIC), said one of the motivations was because she “found it really difficult to understand” why there was a lack of employment for those with learning difficulties.

She said: “Supported in the right way, they are capable of accessing employment in all sorts of roles.”

Tom, 24, is one of the success stories of the project, which saw the café open in March 2020.

Ms Thorp said he had changed from being someone who “didn’t want to approach customers” to becoming “an amazing barista”.

Tom said he was inspired by the project and “got really good at making the patterns on the coffees”.

He then got a job through the government’s Kickstart scheme, which provides businesses with funding to take on unemployed 16 to 24 year olds.

He said the help from No Limits to get his new post at a dessert kitchen in Torquay was “really good”.

Ms Thorp said: “What we’re hoping to do is enable other organisations to realise what reasonable accommodations are [to allow people to work], and how easy they are to implement, so that they can reap the benefits of a diverse workforce.

“It’s hugely rewarding just to provide them [people the cafe supports] with that outlet and make the world more accessible.”

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