If you’re a single mum, you may be in a transitional period in your life.
Maybe things are up in the air at the moment, and you’re looking for a new direction – not necessarily something that’s going to be a permanent part of your life, but something that works for you in the short-to-medium term. Maybe you’re adjusting to a change in income and thinking about starting work (or going back to work), but you’re a little lacking in recent qualifications or experience after taking time out to care for your kids.
Serious retraining might be a bit too expensive and time-consuming for you to consider right now, but having some new skills would be a big help, and so would a recent reference.
It may not be the first option to come to mind, but retraining as a barista could be a great move right now. Labour market conditions are well and truly in your favour, it’s easy to learn, and it’s a flexible job that you can make work for you.
1. Hospitality skills are in big demand right now
You’re probably well aware that the hospitality industry was devastated by COVID-19. Restaurants, pubs and cafes were affected by lockdowns for ages. And when they were allowed to open, restrictions often applied, like only having a certain number of seats open to use in cafes, or patrons not being able to drink standing up in pubs. The international border closures only added to these issues, creating a shortage of international workers, the industry usually relies on and compounding its troubles.
Even now that border restrictions have eased, the industry is still struggling to find enough workers, and this need will become even more urgent with Christmas and the party season approaching.
So, what does this demand for staff mean for you?
Well, while a market where employees are in demand may be hard for businesses to deal with, it’s great news for you if you’re looking for a job, especially in an industry that’s new to you. Hospitality businesses are more likely than ever to give someone with less experience a chance, especially if you’ve got a bit of training from exceptional barista schools that gives you the appropriate hands-on experience and are ready to hit the ground running.
2. It’s an easy job to train for
If you’re a mum looking for a new career, you’re probably wary about making a commitment up front to anything that will make big demands on your time or money, especially if you’re relying on one income at the moment. If you were to consider going into debt for a uni degree or devoting years to an apprenticeship, you’d want to put a lot of thought into the decision beforehand.
Becoming a barista requires a much less drastic investment of money and time, so it’s a lot less intimidating. In fact, the cheapest courses out there come in well under $200 and often take about half a day to complete, so you could be out there with new skills looking for a job within a week. And with the labour market desperate for hospitality workers, you’d have a good chance of getting one.
3. It’s a job you can fit in around your lifestyle and responsibilities
The whole hospitality industry is crying out for workers at the moment, so why should you consider making coffee in particular?
Why not become a bartender or a waiter?
Well, the main difference between these is the hours of operation typical for each. Many restaurants and most pubs have their peak hours in the evening, so if you work in these environments and have kids to think of, you’ll have to look for childcare and will probably find yourself out of pocket unless you’ve got relatives willing to help out for free. This is less the case when you’re working as a barista. Most cafes have operating hours that make it a bit easier to squeeze a shift in between the start and finish of the school or kindy day, if your kids are up to that age.
Because of their huge need for staff, employers in hospitality are getting more accommodating to the needs of workers in several ways. For one thing, they’re widening the net to look at demographics outside their usual norm. Most of us think of hospitality workers as people in their teens and twenties, but that’s changing to some extent, and employers who are keen to fill roles are being forced to reassess their old prejudices. They’re also becoming more obliging to employees once the hiring process is over and they’re actually on the job. Frontline Recruitment chief marketing officer Michelle Gamble points out that:
“Labour shortages have employers’ offering higher salaries, more friendly shifts and balanced rosters.”
This welcome change in outlook means it’s never been a better time for mums to enter the industry and negotiate hours that suit them.
A job for right now
Training as a barista has never been a better idea than it is right now.
Anyone who’s tried to squeeze work in around their responsibilities as a parent knows the value of an employer who’s willing to be flexible about hours, and that’s one of the good things about the hospitality industry – especially now that it’s a buyer’s market for job seekers.
Being a barista may not be something you want to do for the rest of your life, but if you’re a single mum, it could be the right job for right now.
Further reading: 12+ Jobs you can actually fit into school hours.