Apprenticeship of the YearBack to Winners
Sponsored by KCC Skills & Employability
KEY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Coffee retailer
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 8
Charlotte Thomson is the first apprentice at HatHats Coffee, a start-up which supplies coffee on licence to sites around Kent.
The business also runs an online store and invested thousands in restoring a 1970s Citroen HY van, which it uses as a mobile coffee outlet across Whitstable and Herne Bay.
Former Community College Whitstable pupil Charlotte discovered the firm when she began researching apprenticeships online.
She said: “I started sixth form at my school but I soon realised it wasn’t for me.
“I wanted to apply because the job advert really stood out. It was funny, honest and the money was so much better than all the others.
“I also like the fact the owners and other staff had been out to Africa to visit the plantations where the coffee grew and they were sending lots of children to school in Africa.
“I liked the fact the company was small but expanding and all the training that was on offer and I always remember them saying that an apprenticeship wasn’t a job or a college qualification but the start of a career.”
Since starting at the firm, she has launched a Snapchat feed for the company and increased its Instagram followers from 390 to 1,200, with picture likes up more than 1,000%.
Its social media feeds include a video of Charlotte crying when she found out she had been named a KEiBA finalist.
Weekly turnover has increased 80% since she arrived and the company is 9% more profitable on daily sales.
HatHats founding director Lisa Hurst, who runs the business with husband Louis, said: “We are so proud of Charlotte. It does not matter what is happening in her life, she always comes to work with a smile on her face and gives 100% to every task she is given.
“We have already offered her a full-time role within the business at the end of her apprenticeship and I do not know of a more deserving young person for a prestigious KEiBA.”