The Kylemore Food Group has devised a scheme in conjunction with UCD Students’ Union Welfare Office to provide food vouchers for students in need, as well as agreeing to provide barista training in order to make students more employable for the summer.
The idea behind the food vouchers is to support students who may be struggling to afford meals. Students’ Union Welfare Officer, Rachel Breslin, describes it as a voucher that “comes in the form of a prize voucher. Kylemore would give out prize vouchers for various competitions. The main thing for me about it was that it wasn’t anything obtrusive… and it will guarantee them a lunch everyday until it expires, which this semester is until the end of June.”
Breslin stated that the barista course “is something that has never been done before … so it was around the idea of students who need some skills for the summer, and something that would help them become more employable … and [we] came up with the idea of barista training, which is a basic qualification in the ability to make coffee.”
While Kylemore have been receptive to the idea and have agreed that they will commit to training fifteen students, there is no application process in place as of yet. It has not been decided if the training will be held in the Kylemore head office or in the outlets on campus.
Breslin insisted that the students being trained were not being exploited for free labour by Kylemore, “They won’t be working in the café at all during the training, it will literally just be showing and demonstrating, and anything they produce would just be to demonstrate how the machines work or to practice. So, no, they won’t be doing any work for Kylemore, they’ll just be learning from them.” The students will receive a certificate and a recommendation once the training is complete.
Kylemore have also told the Welfare Office that they are interested in hiring more students in their outlets on campus. Breslin has promised to follow up on this interest, “The responsibility lies with us, the SU, to make sure that that does happen next year, and that’s something that I’ll be following up … and make sure that when they are hiring that they are considering students first and foremost.”
The Kylemore group operate the majority of the food outlets on campus, including Readers, Starbucks, and the Java Café.