Finding & Training the next generation

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pic2Four aspiring young chefs have taken part in an exclusive cooking session with award-winning chef Dan Hong, as part of Restaurant & Catering Australia’s (R&CA) Skills Pathways Project. 
The four winners entered the Skills Passport competition, which required them to create an online CV in a free, convenient and secure ‘Skills Passport’ on the Discover Hospitality website. The Discover Hospitality website at is an industry specific online recruitment platform that connects apprentices and qualified staff with employers. 
The four Discover Hospitality competition winners, The Grand National Hotel apprentice Lyric Adorned, Rockwell Catering apprentice Madeleine Pointing, science student David Michalowsky and hospitality student Gigi Bechara participated in a cooking session with award-winning chef Dan Hong at his Sydney restaurant Mr Wong yesterday, Saturday 2 May.
The four aspiring chefs were shown what it takes to be an apprentice at the Merivale establishment by preparing and serving a number of dishes during the busy Saturday lunch time service.
The Discover Hospitality website is the go to place for the Skills Pathways Project; a $7 million initiative, with $4.9 million provided through the Australian Government’s Accelerated Australian Apprenticeships programme. The Skills Pathways project seeks to support competency-based progression of apprentices, help improve apprentice retention rates, up skill chefs and supervisors, and improve the quality of workers to meet the needs of industry operators.
As part of the Skills Pathways project, the Certificate III in Hospitality and the Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery apprenticeships have recently become available in New South Wales at the Western Sydney Institute and Northern Sydney Institute. Apprentices who train through this arrangement have the potential to become a trade qualified chef (Certificate IV) or a trade qualified front-of-house specialist (Certificate III) in a shorter period of time than the traditional time-based approach.
R&CA CEO John Hart believes the on and off-the-job learning provides the most ‘job-ready’ graduates. “Australia has a reputation of producing high-calibre staff; the skills gained through their training can be transferred to any part of the world – in fact they are highly sought after,” said Mr Hart.
Skills Pathways Ambassador Dan Hong was impressed with not just the four student’s cooking skills, but also their delivery of customer service. “The return of the Front-of-House apprenticeship will help ensure most roles in hospitality will be viewed as a career – as the Certificate III in Hospitality provides wait staff with due recognition of their acquired skills. I’m hopeful that the Skills Pathways project will help increase the number of apprentices currently working in my Merivale kitchens, given there’s only two apprentices amongst my 40 employees at present. The Skills Pathways program has all the ingredients for the perfect recipe – I wish I had this sort of support, particularly the mentor assistance when I was completing my apprenticeship,” said Mr Hong.
Those interested in any of the Skills Pathways are encouraged to register their interest at

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