There’s nothing quite like a great cup of coffee!  Staff at ANEW Hotel Hilton in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, know that a perfectly brewed cuppa is a big drawcard for visitors and guests alike,  but for Phumzile Mazibuko, the hotel’s newest barista, making the perfect coffee is where she gets a chance to really come into her own!  Phumzile, who has been deaf since birth is the ANEW Hotel Group’s first deaf employee.

Thanks to The Ciro Coffee Academy Barista Project initiative and Essential Deaf (eDeaf), Phumzile  who hails from Ladysmith,  has found her niche in the bustling hotel.  Ciro provides training and employment for baristas working in internationally-accredited coffee shops and have now made it possible for the hearing-impaired to become qualified baristas. Specially designed sign language menus allow for easy understanding between patrons and baristas.

To ensure an easy transition into hotel life, Essential Deaf (eDeaf) sensitization and sign-language training has been implemented for all staff at ANEW Hotel Hilton to encourage positive communication and a compassionate working environment for a deaf employee. In addition, Phumzile  was  assigned two buddies to assist her to settle into life at the hotel.

The Ciro Coffee Academy’s innovative coffee courses accommodate the hearing-impaired and all trainee baristas are taken through the Speciality Coffee Association modules, that develop their knowledge and skills on the history of coffee machines and the coffee-making process.  Training also covers customer engagement, grinding, extracting, milk texturing, presenting, serving and maintenance. On completion of training, the academy assists deaf barista graduates with employment, through its network of clients.

In addition to her barista training, Phumzile underwent the ANEW Hotels & Resorts induction, where she was introduced to the group’s HITEC values *.  She went on to win the HITEC Award for Courage, in recognition of her ‘ability to adapt and take on new challenges and surroundings, as if it were second nature to her – and always with a smile’.

“We wholeheartedly support Ciro’s commitment to uplifting South Africa’s deaf community by promoting training and development of accredited coffee shop baristas,” says ANEW Hotel & Resorts CEO Clinton Armour, “and look forward to placing more hearing-impaired barista’s into our growing ANEW family.”

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