Costa coffee is offering unemployed youngsters an employment lifeline by opening the UK’s first Costa Academy in the city.

The new facility will create a host of apprenticeships and training opportunities within the company and is set to open next month.

The new academy is a £29,000 joint project between Costa and the local Junior Chamber of Commerce, JCI Southampton.

Costa, which has already trained 81 apprentices to date, hopes the academy will support those not in employment, education or training (NEETs) by equipping them with new skills and qualifications.

A spokesman for the company said: “We hope it will really help those who will leave school this summer with little or no qualifications, and give them opportunities to become apprentices in one of the 25 Costa stores regionally.

“The new academy will provide a second chance for young people to equip themselves with real qualifications, honing the skills they need to work for companies like Costa as well as giving them valuable life skills.”

Despite the fact that latest figures show there has been a fall in the number of people chasing a job in the south, 3.3 per cent of Southampton’s working age resident population is currently unemployed and claiming Job Seekers Allowance. Costa has invested £20,000 in the new facility with £9,000 coming from a National Lottery Grant to the JCI and will be located above the Costa branch in High Street, Southampton. The academy will be officially opened by the city mayor on July 6.

The academy will comprise a practical room, with coffee machines for barista training and a theory room.