From education to employment

London café owner receives Prime Minister’s award for giving adults with learning disabilities a ‘fair shot’ at employment

A Mayfair café owner has received a prestigious award from the Prime Minister’s office in recognition of her outstanding efforts to train adults with learning disabilities in skilled, hospitality jobs.

Founder of Fair Shot Café Bianca Tavella, 27, was presented with a Prime Minister’s Points of Light Award by the Minister for Disabled People, Chloe Smith, when she visited the café on Thursday 10 March 2022.

Bianca was nominated for the award for her work training students with learning difficulties at West London College in hospitality and catering. This helps boost their skills and support their search for work after leaving education.

Now, the entrepreneur runs Fair Shot Café, providing on-the-job training for adults with learning disabilities and helping to place trainees in paid employment. The business opened its doors in December 2021 to help encourage more young disabled people into work. Around 80% of employees working in the coffee shop have learning disabilities.

Bianca believes more businesses should be considering the potential of people with a learning difficulty and hopes to roll out the Fair Shot Café training programme to colleges around the country to improve students’ job prospects and self-esteem.

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Chloe Smith said:

“It’s an absolute delight to present Bianca with this award to thank her for all of her efforts to drive positive change in her community.

“Finding fulfilling work is so important for our mental health and wellbeing, and those who are able to work shouldn’t be locked out of the workforce because they are disabled.

“It’s forward-thinking enterprises like Fair Shot Café that are helping us towards our target of seeing one million more disabled people in work by 2027.”

Bianca Tavella, founder and owner of Fair Shot Café, said:

“What a surprise to receive a Points of Light Award – I am humbled by the recognition. I am excited to be contributing to levelling up the playing field for all people with disabilities in the workplace.

“It is a human right to be able to aspire to a career and we all need to feel responsible for making this happen.

“Fair Shot represents possibility, humanity and equality and we are so excited to welcome everyone and start changing people’s minds about hiring young disabled workers.”

During her visit to the café the Minister was joined by Nickie Aiken MP for Cities of London and Westminster, and met four Fair Shot trainees who demonstrated their barista skills and gave her a tour around their workplace.

Points of Light Awards recognises people who are making a difference in their community and were first awarded in the UK in 2014.

Related Articles