A new commercial cookery apprenticeship program has today been launched by Sodexo Australia in partnership with North Metropolitan TAFE, where participants will receive a Certificate III in Cookery through practical training on Sodexo sites.

An expansion of the company’s existing apprenticeship programs, the program, named ‘Art of Food’, is the first of its kind and has been designed as an alternate pathway to the traditional apprenticeship model.

The innovative training alternative will be piloted and fully funded by Sodexo across its sites in Western Australia.  

Patrick O’Brien, North Metropolitan TAFE Director Hospitality, Culinary Arts and Personal Services said: 

“Real-world skills-based training is invaluable for apprentices starting out in their careers. With critical shortages in cookery talent across Australia, we need innovative solutions like the Art of Food program to attract more young professionals into this important industry. 

Like Sodexo, we see incredible value in the translation of essential skills and knowledge into practical capabilities.” 

The initial pilot will include 19 apprentices who will commence their orientation following the program’s launch. A secondary intake has already been scheduled for the first semester of 2022.

Sodexo apprentices attending their orientation following the program’s launch.

Following the pilot, Sodexo intends to support two intakes each year in line with TAFE semester periods, and eventually replicate the program across its operations in other states, in partnership with local registered training organisations (RTOs). 

Neil Jickain, Cert III Commercial Cookery Apprentice said:

“I’m so grateful for this incredible opportunity to really develop my skills for cookery, while working for such a fantastic company like Sodexo.  Both my father and brother also work with Sodexo, so I’m really excited to make my family proud in achieving a trade qualification in an area that has always been my passion.”

Lessons will be delivered and facilitated by TAFE lecturers and experienced industry Chefs on-site, and Chef mentors will guide apprentices through the site-based component.

The theoretical component will primarily be delivered in North Metro TAFE’s industry-leading facilities over a six-month period, followed by workplace implementation, skills progression and eventual trade competency over the following six to twenty-four months. 

Darren Hedley, Sodexo Australia CEO Energy & Resources said: 

“Our collaboration with North Metropolitan TAFE is our latest initiative to support talent and the next generation entering the hospitality industry. Together, we have created an innovative program which is the first of its kind, covering all requirements of the Nationally Accredited Certificate III Commercial Cookery qualification, while allowing apprentices to harness their practical skills on-site.

We’re also proud to see diversity and inclusion being achieved with a mix of female and indigenous employees in the pilot cohort.”

For more information about North Metropolitan TAFE, visit here

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