Kayla’s Story

From overcoming mental health challenges to a new-found confidence. Read Kayla's powerful experience of the Barista School of Skills programme.


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Sozo has forever impacted my life.

Employed as a Barista at Bootleggers Kalk Bay

Where did you hear about Sozo – where did your journey begin: The value of Social Media 

In January 2023 Kayla’s mother found a social media advertisement post on Facebook about the Sozo Skills Programme. Kayla has dreamed of being an Entrepreneur, “I have wanted to start my own business for the longest time, in the food industry. I applied for Barista to challenge myself as I knew baking from cooking with my mom. I applied immediately. I had to be part of this” [Barista School of Skills].

What were you doing before Sozo? I did not find my skill, I found myself in my skill

Kayla’s beaming smile and sturdy voice make it hard to imagine Kayla as the person she described herself as when entering the programme at the start of 2022. Kayla described herself as an anxious person, that did not have great communication skills and experienced mental health challenges. “Before Sozo, I was in a very negative headspace, mentally. I was unable to talk to people or engage with them”. Kayla expressed that this all changed when she joined Sozo. “My anxiety left me when I was in that [Barista skills] room. I was not shy, I could talk to people. This has helped me grow as a person, I have so many friends”.

How has the Programme changed your life: Sozo offers more than 21st-century artisanal skills and  professional development

Kayala highlights her personal development as the biggest change that the programme has offered her, particularly in her confidence and communication skills. “I can stand up for myself and ask for things. I would not have been able to have a full-time job as a Barista if I did not have the confidence I gained at Sozo. I can talk and engage with customers”. 

While technical skills are essential for performing skilled-based jobs, soft skills are equally important for overall workplace success. Sozo offers a comprehensive Life Skills and Job Readiness programme. This promotes personal and professional growth,  ensuring that our graduates are well-prepared to succeed in the workplace.

Advice to anyone interested in joining the Programme: More than just the money, I got my mental health back.

“My advice for anyone that has the mindset of finances only, yes, money is very nice to have and I am so grateful that I have a full-time job. But more than that, I got the life that I always wanted because I am happy! My mental health is good. I am in a happier and more positive headspace. Sozo has forever impacted my life”.

– Kayla Facoline, Sozo 2023 Barista Alumni


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