Jersey College for Girls is to create a ‘Work Café’ at its Mont Millais campus developing a new space for dining, socialising, co-working, and events.
With assistance from Santander International, the school is to transform a ground floor room into a vibrant facility where students can socialise, buy healthy meals and snacks, and take part in open mic music sessions or other activities.
During the development phase, the partnership will give students learning opportunities around project planning, design, communications, marketing, and events. Once the café is open, Santander International will continue supporting students with training to help manage the café and promote events through digital channels. The bank will also provide financial education sessions, equipping students with knowledge and skills around budgeting, saving, investing, and other financial topics before they leave for university, enter the workforce, or embark on a gap year.
Carl Howarth, Principal, Jersey College for Girls (JCG), said: “We were impressed by the concept of the Santander Work Café in town and wanted to recreate a similar facility in the College that has a different identity to the canteen, or indeed to the rest of the College. Santander International have helped us with the concept and design, sharing their expertise creating Work Cafes and assisting with funding to make this possible. The partnership with Santander International offers our students new opportunities now and will help them develop new skills to assist their future endeavours.”
JCG students were invited to take part in the project, giving their input into what they wanted from the space, and how they thought it should look. 10 students from years 8 to 13 joined the team.
Isla, age 13, said: “We wanted the café to have a different feel to the canteen and be a nice place we can use any time of day, not just at lunchtime. It will have clearly defined zones: a breakfast bar with lots of charging points for working, a social area in the middle, and booths at the side for small groups.”
Kasia, age 13, said: “The space should make people feel happy and calm, with a layout that works for us. The new café will be decorated with nature in mind including wood and granite surfaces.”
For Lily, age 17, the opportunity to shadow Santander Work Café designers and architects has been useful work experience. “I’m hoping to study Interior Architecture at university, so it has been brilliant seeing how the Santander team make design choices and all the factors that need to come together to make a project like this happen. I’ll only get to use the space for a short time, but I think it will be very popular with 6th formers and for relaxing after exams.”
The JCG ‘Work Café’ will serve cold food prepared by the college kitchen, to eat in the new space or take away, alongside snacks and drinks and, like all trendy cafes, it will even have a coffee machine available for sixth formers and staff. The emphasis will be on healthy, sustainable produce, with minimal packaging waste and no single use plastics. Building work has commenced, with the new space set for completion ready for the summer term.
Julie Forsyth, Bursar, JCG, said: “With over 765 students and over 100 staff we have outgrown our current dining facilities. The new Work Café will provide an additional catering outlet for our students and staff and our students involvement in the design has ensured it is in keeping with the trendiest of cafes in town.”
Since the first Santander Work Café opened in Chile in 2016, this revolutionary concept has spread to nearly 100 sites across the Americas and Europe. The Santander Work Café at Charing Cross offers five free bookable meeting rooms, a co-working space with high-speed wi-fi, and food and drink from its barista partners Cargo.
James Pountney, CEO, Santander International, said: “Following the results of a student survey about catering at JCG, the College approached us to learn more about the Work Café and the relationship grew from there. Since the Santander Work Café opened in Jersey early 2021, it has become a popular destination for meetings, co-working, events, or just grabbing a good coffee and a bite to eat. While the JCG café will not include banking facilities, it will draw on the ethos of the Work Café, becoming a café within a school, a vibrant new space serving the College community.”
Pictured: Carl Howarth, Principal, JCG, and James Pountney, CEO Santander International, with JCG students, in the room which will become the new café.