Ex-apprentice can't wait for end of lockdown to begin new role

Nelly Keen, who is set to become a supervisor at Applaud Coffee in Ipswich Picture: APPLAUD COFFEE

Nelly Keen, who is set to become a supervisor at Applaud Coffee in Ipswich - Credit: Applaud Coffee

A former apprentice is set to begin her new role as a supervisor as soon as the coffee shop in which she began her working life opens again after the coronavirus shutdown.

Nelly Keen started at Applaud Coffee in Ipswich's St Peter's Street as a Saturday worker and went on to complete a training course under an apprenticeship scheme.

The 20-year-old began her working life cleaning trays and washing up before starting her Level 2 hospitality training at the age of 17.

 She completed her apprenticeship in 2018 and also trained as a barista, honing her skills with the help of the six times world latte art champion Dhan Tamang.

"I never really got on with academic learning at high school and the thought of going to college was a bit intimidating," she said.

"I feel a lot of people look down on apprenticeships and don't think they are a good thing, but I wouldn't change what I did for anything."

She has been supported by café owners Hannah Huntly and Beth Cook and by hospitality assessor Andrea Thompson from Suffolk New College School of Commercial Services.

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"I would like to have my own place at some point, but I definitely want to stay in the specialist coffee industry. It's what I love doing and I am so lucky to have found that so early in my career," she said.

Natasha Waller, skills manager at New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: "Nelly’s story shows that not only do apprenticeships offer on-the-job training, but they can lead to a career that you really enjoy. Beth and Hannah have also benefitted as they have been able to develop and retain someone whose skills are now valuable to their business.”

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