PEOPLE with autism spectrum disorder will learn vital employment skills while serving ice cream and coffee thanks to an initiative of Birkdale-based not-for-profit Abundance College Inc.
Java Train, a mobile coffee cart, provides a training facility for autistic trainees to learn about food safety and hygiene as well as how to prepare and serve coffee, operate a point of sale and communicate with customers.
Trainees are enrolled in a nationally accredited skill set and the experience they gain from the Java Train counts toward their practical training.
Java Train's launch on June 15 saw coffee and rolled ice cream made and sold to boaties and families enjoying the sunny day.
Abundance College co-founder Kylie Dawson said trainees on opening day had impressed her with their customer interaction skills, quick thinking and enthusiasm.
She said employer-managed training and internships helped people with autism develop vital employment and interview skills and find the right job match.
"Some autistic adults know exactly what kind of work they want (while) others are flexible and others have no idea," she said.
"But just like everyone else, adults with autism have both the responsibility and the right to direct their own lives.
"Even if a person has limited verbal skills, it's important to know that the work he is doing suits his interests, abilities, and sense of purpose.
"While it's great to imagine a young adult with autism getting a great job and keeping it for a lifetime, it's rare to see that kind of success without a great deal of preparation and support."
Training is targeted towards people with autism but anyone with a barrier to employment can take part.
Weather permitting, Java Train can be found on Saturdays at Redlands Boat Club in Cleveland.
For more information visit the Abundance College website.