By Max, Founder and CEO of Steps

When we first opened the doors to Steps five years ago it wasn’t just our trainees starting out on a learning journey.

We’ve poured our hearts into building a better future for them, and building a more inclusive society one cafe at a time. It has never been smooth, or easy, but today we find ourselves about to open our third training centre and seventh cafe.

This is partly due to the generous community of customers, business partners, families, educators and supporters we’ve been lucky enough to connect with.

But it’s also to do with the willingness of our team to learn from our experiences (and mistakes) and to think innovatively about solutions.

As we turn five, we took some time to reflect on some of the most important lessons we’ve learned, and wanted to share them with you in case they can help you through any challenges you’re facing.

  1. Be patient. Systemic/sustainable/longterm change takes time and everyone is starting from a different place
  2. Have a checklist you go through each time a new project comes up to check whether you are remaining true to your mission
  3. We have often been asked to compromise what we know is best for our trainees to make life easier for an employer. Listen to those whose interests you represent, and advocate for what you know they need even if it means losing out on a contract
  4. Kindness and (a box of brownies!) make people feel valued and that’s important when you are trying to change the world
  5. Just because the mission is important to us, it might feel like extra work to someone else so make them feel great about their engagement.

We’re proud of what we’ve achieved, of our trainees, and of you for wanting to be part of it.

Let us know what you think and if you have any tips to share on making your dreams a reality!

More about us

Our business partners

Steps is working with 14 business partners to help create a broad range of opportunities for our graduates.

Our trainees

We are lucky enough to work with a big group of talented, determined and enthusiastic trainees.

Our Vocational centres

Our vocational centres offer UK-accredited training in a friendly environment. Read more about them.