Cafe Training Scheme

Established in April 2007, the Drill Hall Arts Café provides training opportunities to young people. The project offers a route into training for those who have not been motivated or had the experience to take up standard catering employment.  It provides an accessible and supportive route into work for young people who are not ready for the mainstream job market due to lack of qualifications and other circumstances, and whom other employers were unlikely to employ.

The training encourages the gaining of skills, confidence and experience to enter employment or further education. 

If you or someone you know would be interested in getting involved then please contact Stephanie on 0131 555 7100 or fill in our volunteer application form.

Cafe Trainee Interviews

Interview with Kerry 

Tell us a little bit about yourself… (e.g. where are you from, how old are you, when did you leave school…)?  I’m 19 years old, from West Pilton, I left school almost 3 years ago

How did you get involved in the café training scheme?  I was claiming Job Seekers for 6 months then was offered a Community Jobs Funded Placement. I went for an interview at Out of the Blue.

What did you do on your placement?  I was a cafe assistant which involved dealing with customers, taking/making orders, cleaning up afterwards and so on.

What was the outcome of your placement?  I was offered a permanent job.

What do you think about Out of the Blue?  I think Out of the Blue is a great place to work as there is so many different things going on and so many different creative businesses. Everyone is so friendly and willing to help in any way possible.

Any other things you want to say about the placement, the Café or the Drill Hall…?  This Placement has helped me with many things mostly my confidence in dealing with people whether it be face to face or over the phone.

What’s your favourite thing on the café menu?  Too many lovely things to choose from it’s difficult to choose a favourite!

Interview with Tammy

Tammy serving soup in the kitchen

What’s the best thing about the café?  A chance to meet new people and be in a new environment. It’s good that we have exhibitions on and all the different things going on here.

What’s not so good?  Nothing. The worst part of it is probably that I’ll be having to leave at the end of the six months…!

Is the placement what you expected?  No, it’s different. It’s better! I thought it would be just like a normal café – but here you get all the studios and artists and exhibitions and all…

What did you do before coming onto the placement?  I left school last Christmas. I’ve been going to the air cadets and doing some volunteering and then just waiting for the café to open again after the build so I could start…

What are your future plans?  Join the RAF as a caterer / air hostess.

What’s your favourite food from the café?  I don’t know. It’s good to try different things – like I had never tried cheese chowder before. The rule is if you make something you have to try it – I think that’s a good thing. There’s not a lot I wouldn’t try…!

Isi, Tammy’s supervisor says: “Tammy is 16 and she started her placement beginning of March this year and is due to finish in September. She’s been an absolute *star* trainee so far – really hard working and very sociable. She’s not shy talking to people in the building and knows a lot of artists and the trades people working on the build project by name, which is unusual for trainees her age. We hope we can teach her a lot of things she can use in her future career – and life in general!”

Interview with Meredith 

Meredith at the cafe

After four months as a trainee at the Drill Hall Café, 18-year old Meredith O’Donoghue has landed a job as a commis chef at the Balmoral Hotel.  Meredith was on the café training programme which is run jointly by Out of the Blue and the Port of Leith Housing Association. She applied for the Balmoral Hotel job, and after one telephone call and a face-to-face interview Meredith started the following week. An assistant chef said to her ‘you must have really impressed them to get the job so quickly!’.

Six weeks into the new job and Meredith is beaming with pride and buzzing from the excitement of her new role. But it’s no walk in the park. “I’m supposed to work 39 hours with two days off a week, but it’s always more than that. Sometimes when there’s a function on we work 14 hour shifts”.  So far Meredith has worked in the main kitchen and the pastry kitchen, as well as assisting with the hotel breakfasts which means a 4:30am start!  (We thought 8:00 in the morning at the Drill Hall Café was early…). “We wear the whole outfit – tall hat and the chef jacket with all the buttons and checked pattern.”

The experience so far has made Meredith even more determined to become a chef. Alongside her traineeship, she will also be sent to college to study subjects such as food hygiene.

What’s the best thing you have made so far? “The other day I had to make a macadamia pie, it was really yummy!”

Meredith has always liked cooking and was keen to try out new things whilst working at the Drill Hall Café. Perhaps we can claim a little bit of Meredith’s success too – in any case we’re extremely proud of her! Other café trainees have gone on to further studies or training in areas such as care work. 17-year old ex-trainee Jodie Boswell was taken on as a full-time café staff member after her placement because she excelled in her role and showed a great level of commitment. Out of the Blue is always working hard on improving the scheme – let’s hope for many more success stories in the future!

Interview with Jodie  


Jodie, who is from Leith, has just completed a 6 month café traineeship at the Drill Hall Arts Café. Jodie first came to the Drill Hall as a participant in the ‘Streetlife’ project. Through this project out of the blue worked with teenagers who used the Dalmeny Street Park as a hangout and were seen by some older members of the community as a threat.  A photographer worked with the group to produce images of the park and a youth worker and designer based in a studio at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall helped them produce a magazine with their writing, graphics and photographs. The magazine was launched at an event at the Drill Hall featuring an exhibition and an audio/visual projection of their work. We asked Jodie a few questions about her experiences so far.

How did you find out about the training scheme and what made you decide to give it a go? I first heard about the training scheme from my careers advisor and thought it would be something I’d enjoy.

Do you enjoy it? It has been amazing. I’m getting up in the morning all excited about coming to my work. I have never worked before and didn’t know what to expect but working in the café is a great experience.

What have you learned or what have you got out of your time here? I have learned how to make fancy coffees, to cook, deal with customers, use the till and work in a team.

What do you think it will be like over the festival? Very busy with all the fringe crowds! It’ll be exciting to see the shows.

Would you like to stay in Leith in the future? Absolutely.

What’s your favourite thing on the menu? Would have to be the tomato and lentil soup!

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  • Dominic Williams
    Dominic Williams
    15:35 16 Jul 19
    Brilliant and beautiful space. Great for exhibitions and events. Nice café too. It's such a good way to reuse a building.
    Brian Daye
    Brian Daye
    12:06 09 Jun 19
    Fabulous community centre, with amazing fresh food and coffee in the café, also, great space to hold events.
    Lucas Francois
    Lucas Francois
    05:12 28 May 19
    A good flea market with very interesting object, well placed. The building is accessible and people amazing
    Lynne Forgie
    Lynne Forgie
    13:45 27 May 19
    What a place! I went to a flea market and it was fantastic. The people of Leith are warm and friendly, there's a café there and they hold different events throughout the year. Find something that you like and go!
    Karen Dennis
    Karen Dennis
    12:34 26 May 19
    Great community space that probably wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the diverse projects and functions it is used for.
    stewart burton
    stewart burton
    16:36 11 May 19
    Fabulous location for art show..the light was perfect right out of the blue
    Gareth Timms
    Gareth Timms
    16:49 09 May 19
    great community resource. nice people great cafe
    Brooke Hetherington
    Brooke Hetherington
    08:52 05 May 19
    Great little place always holding different events, good to keep an eye out for. Good coffee in adorable tea cups. Absolutely love when they hold the vintage kilo sale!
    Felicity Jean Edmond
    Felicity Jean Edmond
    00:44 08 Apr 19
    Great, multi-use space with a café, a central events hall, artists studios and an aerial practice studio. The staff seem friendly and helpful and they have variety of interesting events on.
    Joyce Moore
    Joyce Moore
    17:40 05 Apr 19
    My daughter had a stall there last week. She thought it was brilliant and hopes to repeat next month.
    Steven Morgan
    Steven Morgan
    14:51 24 Mar 19
    Wonderful classic and vintage finds. A brilliant mix - thank you!
    M. Adams
    M. Adams
    22:46 12 Feb 19
    Great place... The antique/collectors Fair is one of the best around.... Nice and relaxed, nice atmosphere.
    Lauren Stonebanks
    Lauren Stonebanks
    21:44 15 Dec 18
    A lovely arts centre and cafe with a focus on being green. They have interesting exhibitions and events and a monthly flea market as well as lots of craft fairs. They have an accessible toilet too.
    jacob louis hoover
    jacob louis hoover
    12:56 01 Aug 18
    Quite amazing food. Good spot to sit, if not put together with particular care.
    Caitlin Watt
    Caitlin Watt
    12:48 28 Jul 18
    Staff are lovely and friendly. Lovely black pudding rolls! Love looking around the flee market there so many different things to look at and buy
    Laura Robertson
    Laura Robertson
    12:34 14 Jul 18
    What a great place. Live music brunch today. Art exhibition. Great value food. Shh, keep it a secret ;-)
    Daniel Hughes
    Daniel Hughes
    09:27 05 Jul 18
    Beautiful place. Visited an exhibition here and the interior itself was absolutely wonderful. Friendly staff on hand and I would highly recommend
    Andrew Deans
    Andrew Deans
    09:53 30 Jun 18
    The market was way better than I thought! Lots of treasures for ladies and men! Lots of jewelry, save yourself the time in the shops and come here!
    Next Reviews
  • Box Office

  • How to get here

    Click here to see buses that pass the Drill Hall and directions

    Out of the Blue Drill Hall, 36 Dalmeny St, Edinburgh, EH6 8RG

  • Opening Hours

    Monday to Saturday: 10am – 5pm

  • We are a Green Arts Venue 2014