National Careers Week: Become a Barista

In honour of National Careers Week 2019, we’re profiling some of the latest jobs from Careers 2019.

Next in the list of roles is Barista, download a PDF of this job profile here:

Barista job profile


Qualifications and courses

There are no formal qualifications for this role, although most employers will expect you to have passes in GCSE/National 5 English and maths.

Previous experience of working in catering or in a customer-facing role is important.

You could enter the role through an apprenticeship. Starbucks offers a 12-month Level 2 apprenticeship in Barista Mastery and Customer Service. You will train primarily on the job in store; however, you will also attend webinar and classroom sessions. On completion, there is the opportunity to move on to higher-level apprenticeships and supervisor roles.

You may also find it useful to work towards a qualification in a relevant subject such as hospitality and catering or food safety.

If the coffee bar is licensed to sell alcohol, you will normally need to be at least 18 years old to be able to work there.


What the work involves

You will grind coffee and operate the coffee machines.

You will prepare and serve coffee and other hot and cold drinks and food to customers.

You will take people’s orders and process payment at the till.

You will set up the store at the start of each day, which may include creating stock displays.

You will help to keep the work areas and coffee machines clean and tidy throughout the day and clean up the shop at the end of the day.

You may also be required to undertake stock checks and order in new stock.



Type of person suited to this work

You will need excellent customer service skills to deal with customer orders, enquiries and complaints.

Coffee shops can get extremely busy throughout the day, so you will need to be able to work well under pressure, quickly and accurately, and handle several orders on the go.

Manual dexterity is useful for preparing food and drinks and operating the machines.

You will need excellent attention to detail to meet customers’ requests and dietary requirements and ensure that high hygiene and food safety standards are maintained.

Working conditions

You will normally work between 35 and 40 hours a week, although part-time work is available. You will work shifts, which may include some evening and weekend work.

You may be required to wear a uniform.

The work is physically demanding, as you will be on your feet all day in the shop, preparing and serving food and drinks, and taking customer orders, so a reasonable level of physical fitness is required.

At peak times the shop is likely to get very noisy and hot.


Future prospects

Baristas work in independent coffee shops and chains, as well as restaurants and hotels.

Due to a high staff turnover, there is often a demand for baristas, and there are opportunities in towns and cities throughout the UK.

There is strong competition for work, particularly as barista work is popular as a part-time or holiday job among students. As there are no formal qualifications required for this role, gaining relevant experience in a catering environment or customer services role is essential.

As you gain experience, you could progress to store manager and then become a regional manager, particularly if you work in a large coffee shop. If you are employed in a small coffee shop, you may have to move to another shop in order to progress.

You could set up your own coffee shop or catering business.



You will have the opportunity to meet and interact with a wide range of people.

The working atmosphere is fun, lively and fast-paced.

The work can be tiring and physically demanding, as you will be on your feet all day.

You may have to deal with complaints and difficult customers.


Money guide

Salaries will vary depending on the location and type of coffee shop.

As a trainee barista, you will earn between £8,000 and £15,000 a year.

With experience, this can rise to up to £17,000 a year.

If you work in luxury hotels and restaurants, you can earn up to £20,000 a year.

You may be paid more for overtime and shift work.


Further information

Beverage Standards Association

Brewing, Food & Beverage Industry Suppliers Association

Hospitality Guild





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