Story Brooke Jacobson Photo slapics
Hospitality students at TAFE Queensland’s Bracken Ridge campus are gaining real world experience while they learn, by running their own café.
The Polaris Bistro and Coffee Shop, located on campus, is run entirely by the students. For 4017 residents, it’s the perfect location for a well-priced, delicious latte, while also helping the students complete their Certificate III in Hospitality.
At just 15-years-old, Jesse Eardman is the youngest of the 11 students in the six-month course.
For him, it’s the first step on the way to his ultimate goal. “I’d love to have my own café one day,” he said. “You get all of the experience here and it’s great, I’m really loving it.”
Students will be able to go on and become waiters, bar staff, front-of-house attendants or could work in events.
Mother-of-four, Hannah Elliot, is a Deagon local and has already found work through the course. “I’ve just been able to get a job at the Albion Hotel, so I am combining work and study,” she said.
“I have been a stay-at-home mum for 14 years and I just thought that it was time to get back into the workforce.”
School-leaver Cooper James said he had been interested in hospitality. “Working here [at Polaris], it’s great to get that experience,” he said.
“I really like the bar work the best, making the mocktails and the frappes.”
Teacher, Rebecca Cawood, said she was proud of her students’ passion and enthusiasm. “(Polaris) is a more kind and safe environment for the students to be able to practice their service skills,” she said.
“The bistro is a very casual, relaxed atmosphere, we’re serving drinks and light meals and it’s really, really affordable, with prices from $1 to $6.
“The students really love to have real customers here – we have a lot of takeaway coffees with the staff and students here on campus, but we really do want more dine-in customers.”
Polaris has plenty of space, making it ideal for parents looking for somewhere to get their caffeine fix. Customers are also asked to fill out a feedback form, to help the students’ with their ongoing learning.
The bistro and coffee shop is open most Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 9am–1pm, at the TAFE Queensland Bracken Ridge campus, 157 Norris Road, Bracken Ridge.