New job gives Hamish a fresh zest for life

Hamish Hutcheson, of Wormit, is enjoying life at Zest St Andrews
Hamish Hutcheson, of Wormit, is enjoying life at Zest St Andrews

A former Fife College student from Wormit is enjoying a busy working life thanks to a forward-thinking St Andrews employer.

Hamish Hutcheson (19), who’s on the autism spectrum, has blossomed following his college course and subsequent employment at Zest Cafe.

Hamish attended the College’s Supported Programmes in the Cupar campus for a year until summer 2014.

He achieved a National Progression Award in Enterprise and Employability, which prepared him for starting a new work placement at the busy café in South Street.

This placement, organised in partnership with ENABLE Scotland, was so successful owner and manager Lisa Cathro offered Hamish a paid position starting at 15 hours and later progressing to 25 hours per week with the café which Hamish was thrilled to accept.

Zest’s ethos is to help support people facing barriers to employment by providing a friendly, inclusive workplace to learn and develop.

This ethos certainly seems to have worked for Hamish - since joining Zest Cafe in August his family and café staff have seen him develop into a confident young man.

Hamish said: “At college I learned a lot about customer service skills and worked in the Garden Gallery Café based in the College which gave me great experience and helped me secure the job at Zest.

“I really like working at Zest – there’s loads to do in the café, from making scones and bacon rolls in the morning to serving customers and making smoothies throughout the day. Each day I learn new things and I feel more independent since I travel to St Andrews on my own each work day. I’m now earning my own money which is great!”

As part of his work in the café, Hamish is working towards an SVQ 2 Food and Beverage course.

Meanwhile, an event for employers to find out more about supported employment has been organised by Fife Council and Zest Cafe.

‘Working Together, Working Better’ takes place this Wednesday, March 4, between 6pm and 9pm at the café. E-mail linda.clark@fife.gov.uk or lisa@zest-standrews.com