When Black Mountain School's funky SixDegrees cafe opens to the public it will sell more than just a quality brew.
"It's about coming here for an experience: a cup of coffee, a light snack but an experience," principal Frank Fogliati said.
"People who haven't had much contact with people with a disability, they will grow as human beings coming here."
The new cafe, which is part of a larger social enterprise to include alfresco dining and an art gallery, was completed in time for Thursday's launch, coinciding with International Day of People with Disability.
While the cafe might be situated within the leafy school grounds, its fit-out is among Canberra's best, filled with dark, moody walls, artistic lighting, swathes of wood and pops of bright colour.
Mr Fogliati said he expected the garden cafe and gallery to open to the public and prospective employers in term 1, 2016.
The specialist school's students will operate the cafe, stock the outlet with fresh produce grown on site and sell their artwork in the new gallery.
In the meantime, they will begin training in the completed cafe.
"They will have a skill set that is targeted in industry," Mr Fogliati said.
"We would invite prospective employers to come to the school and say: 'Wow, they really do know how to undertake all the tasks required in a cafe. Yep, I can find a job for them – it might not be full time but I'm going to give them a start'.
"It's a modest beginning to a huge change."
Mr Fogliati said Australia ranked 21st out of 29 OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] countries when it came to employing people with a disability.
Improving the pathway to work not only benefited students but employers and the economy, he said.
"Every young person with a disability is a unique person and every single one of those people you can get into employment totally cuts off that cycle of poverty, deprivation of experience, financial dependence – you name it," he said.
"If you get a young person with a disability into employment, society, not just that person, reaps the benefits for decades.
"Everything just blossoms. That's the legacy we leave."
Sixteen-year-old student Crystal Owen said she liked the new cafe and looked forward to gaining hospitality skills.
"I like the roof and the lights – they're really nice and pretty," she said.
"I'm really looking forward to making milkshakes, making coffee, handing out food."
Similarly, 17-year-old Jessica Harden said she felt excited about working inside the cafe and thanked the Canberra organisations and individuals who helped get the project off the ground.
Minister for Education and Disability Joy Burch said she admired the community's support of the new social enterprise.
She said the cafe would benefit every student who passed through its doors.
"What this facility here will do is bring the community into the school but it's also important for the skills and development for these students. It prepares them for a job, it prepares them to be a part of our community," she said.
"People with a disability rightly should be front and centre in any community, in any society. [International Day of People with Disability] allows all of us to sit and reflect, to look to their friends, to look to their neighbours and say, 'how can I make efforts on my own, by myself, to make a more inclusive community?'."