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“I want my hospitality skills to be universal so that I can adapt to kitchen or front of house, and here at Distinction Hotel I’m getting that experience because I work in reception, the restaurant and the bar.”
Rachel chose a career in hospitality because she is one of 11 children so was used to preparing big meals. “I did some STAR courses at school and NorthTec took me on at a young age, so I graduated before my 19th birthday. Now that I’m out working, I realize how much the tutors took me under their wing and lifted me through the study experience. I was home schooled so my life experience was pretty secluded. I had no confidence and I’d hide behind my hair.”
“I’ve gone from being painfully shy to being confident enough to enjoy all aspects of hospitality work. The tutors really model what’s possible and I’ve learned from them how to be adaptable. When I graduated, I got a job for seven months working as a Commis Chef with some front of house at The Settlers then worked in New Plymouth for a while because my grandmother was unwell down there.”
“When I returned to Whangarei I went around town on foot looking for work and in doing that spoke to the Murray, General Manager here. They had someone leaving who was working in both reception and the restaurant so that gave me an opportunity to test the waters by working in different departments.”
“At first, I struggled because reception involves new skills but I’ve now grown in confidence, thanks to everyone here at Distinction. The whole team has been so understanding and supportive as I've been learning and I’ve now found where I’m going in the industry. I’ll see what unfolds from here.”
“We were looking for someone for our food and beverage department and reception when Rachel literally walked in the door with her CV looking for work. We checked her references, liked how she presented, so started her working as a waitress as well as in reception and in the kitchen.”
“Most of our training here is one-on-one and everyone is different but Rachel is already proving to be a good all-rounder. She has a broad range of skills and is becoming our go-to person.”
Murray moved to Whangarei a couple of years ago from Hamilton and has no direct previous experience with NorthTec prior to employing Rachel. “I’m aware of NorthTec’s broad coverage of industry training and realise the emphasis on applied experiential learning as well as education. We’ve had other employees from within industry training bodies here for internships and work experience and realise Rachel’s Diploma training is at a deeper and more comprehensive level. We look forward to seeing where her expanding skill set best fits here as opportunities present.”
I have two kids and I thought it may be too late for me to study, but as soon as I saw the pamphlet for this course...
“I’ve always had a passion for food because my Mum was a good cook and my Grandad had a café in Malaysia. I’ve also prepared food for our church since I came to New Zealand 10 years ago, and I have a cup cake stall at the market in Dargaville. I have two kids and I thought it may be too late for me to study, but as soon as I saw the pamphlet for this course everything fell into place.”
“I applied directly, doors opened and I love it. I’m learning new techniques, I enjoy the campus environment, and the tutors and other students are so supportive. I had to go back to Malaysia when my Mum passed away and the tutors found a way to make that possible for me. We have several international students and so I’m ‘mumsie’ to them. They come to me for advice, and in turn I’m learning from the other Kiwi students.”
“The only challenge for me is the commute from Dargaville four days a week and juggling that with family, but my husband is a huge support and helps make this possible. It’s so worth it because I’m learning so much about food and food safety, and the course sets me up for my vision.”
“I want to get a job in a commercial kitchen after this course, and longer term I want to create my own café that is a place where I can tell people the story of the food. It will be about fresh healthy eating and Asian food fusion.”
Learning here is so different than in China because there they tell you how to solve the problem. Here you learn how...
“Every day after school as a child, I would watch Mum making food, then as an adult I was working in food technology in China. I wanted to change from checking on food, to learning how to cook it. I have a family member and a friend here and they helped me check out courses. Auckland was too big and I wanted be in a quiet town so I chose NorthTec.”
“Learning here is so different than in China because there they tell you how to solve the problem. Here you learn how to solve the problem yourself. I love deciding on and planning the menu and choosing my on dish to go on it. I also like the international mix and support of the other students and the calm manner of the tutors – especially in helping me with English.”
“Getting this qualification will give me more choices. I already work in a café in town, and when I finish I want to find work in a restaurant. When I have more experience and have learnt more, I’d love to own a café.”
The best part of doing the course is learning things that I didn't know existed. We get a window into other cultures.
“I was choosing between studying cookery or social work and actually, cookery chose me. I looked into this programme, read student profiles and realised cookery was second nature to me.”
“I’m from a big family so as soon as I was high enough to reach the bench, I was part of food preparing for family gatherings and weddings. As a young adult, people asked me to help cater for events so I already had some experience and really enjoyed that experience. I therefore decided to get the qualification to back it.”
“The best part of doing the course is learning things that I didn't know existed. It has expanded my horizons, including learning French cookery terminology and history. Key influencers, such as Auguste Escoffier (from France), have developed cuisine and cookery as we know it today. We get a window into other cultures. And our tutor is amazing. He has a calm and humble approach in the kitchen and I aspire to be more like him.”
“The real surprise – and delight – to me is that a couple of tutors have chosen me to work side-by-side with them at their personal events. One was being part of a prize for the winner to have two chefs come to their house and cook for them, and the other was to cook for a birthday function where a High Court judge was present. I love that the experience is exposing me to different situations.”
“Another surprise was our tutor’s imaginative intro into level 4. We had a ‘get back into it day’ where we played cricket and had a shared lunch of food we all brought that originated from our culture or our Mum’s home cooking. We have a diverse group with six international students and we all have different strengths to bring to the table. We love to share our knowledge and learn from each other.”
“I want to complete the Diploma in Cookery, get some more work experience, then travel, eat and explore different cuisine all around the world. We’ve just done the City and Guild’s Food Safety Certificate which is internationally recognised, and I managed to gain a distinction so that’s a plus for my CV.”
“My diploma will give me a ticket to life. A qualification gives you somewhere to step from and to step to. Thank you so much to all my inspirational tutors.”
I loved the atmosphere here, and getting to make the coffee in the café – complete with perks.
“I decided to do the course because I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else as interesting as hospitality. I’ve always cooked quite a lot at home so it grew from there. I thought I’d have to go to Whangarei to do an official cheffing course but I’ve now just finished the 12-week Food and Beverage Service course here.”
“I loved the atmosphere here, and getting to make the coffee in the café – complete with perks. I was the only guy in our class and found the other committed students really enjoyable to be around.”
“By getting this ticket it’s a lot easier to get a job in the field because you can really get thrown in the deep end out there, especially if you move to a new place. I’m currently casually employed in the kitchen at a local café and my next step is to go on and do level 3 at Whangarei.”
“Eventually I’d love to be a chef or work front-of-house because you can travel a lot with those skills. And it’s human work that won’t ever be taken over by machines.”
Getting better at English is a big motivation for me and I feel really well supported here as an international student.
“I was working in hospitality at home in New Caledonia and realised it’s a growing industry there that needs more English speakers. So I originally came to New Zealand to study English in Auckland then did the Food and Beverage course there which gave me a taster for learning more. A friend later suggested I move to Whangarei to do the NorthTec level 4 course as an international student and I’m loving it.”
“I love how practical the course is and I especially enjoy serving people, doing events with the tutor, and helping the younger students – plus it all helps improve my English. Getting better at English is a big motivation for me and I feel really well supported here as an international student. With that support in place, I love the challenge of wanting to satisfy each customer at the different service events we do.”
“I’m surprised at how interested I am in administration, how much my skills are improving, and the patience I have when serving and taking care of people. As I learn more skills, my confidence levels are improving in both my management ability and my social and personal interactions.”
When Evelyne finishes this course she will return to New Caledonia and already has some work interviews in place.
Another aspect I enjoy is that we learn how to train others, so we work with school students who are keen to learn. I...
“I’m at the beginning of a new career now and I want at the top of a pile of candidates when I’m applying for a new job. I’m a doer, so I like that you accomplish so much in this course in a short time. I haven’t studied for years because I’ve been a stay at home Mum, and I find the focus and commitment from both myself and some of the other students is really refreshing and very satisfying.”
“Another aspect I enjoy is that we learn how to train others, so we work with school students who are keen to learn. I’m surprised at how much the tutor goes out of her way to expose us to employers and the industry.”
“I’m hoping that getting this qualification will dramatically impact my life, and I want to get a good job when I finish with hours that suit my family commitments. I’d then love to go on and study cookery later when I get more time.”
“This programme has really helped to prepare me for the hospitality industry. I’ve been taught so I can walk into a...
“I love being introduced to new foods, I love the atmosphere here, and I love learning new things.”
“After 13 years of being a mum to my 8 children, it was time to change things up a bit. They were getting fussier about what we were eating and had had enough of my limited food choices, and I knew I was ready to learn new skills. NorthTec was just up the road so I started with level 2 Cookery to learn the basics, took a year off for my last pregnancy, then got back into it at level 3 this year.”
“I love being introduced to new foods, I love the atmosphere here, and I love learning new things. With great support from my family and the children’s father, I’m finding a new balance in my life and I’m surprising myself with how easy making interesting food can be. It’s challenging balancing study and family commitments but the support both at home and here make it possible - and the kids are already appreciating the new food options I bring home.”
“I really love watching the tutors introduce and demonstrate new dishes for us to make here, and I then go home and make them. My eldest is 13 and always wants to help me while the next eldest is very keen to taste the new recipes! We’ve learned about food that we didn’t know existed. I’m pleased that I remember things easily, and I’m developing new skills like knife techniques and plating up meals.”
“Because I had been home-based for years I was quite shy, so getting to know the students and tutors here has helped me become more confident. NorthTec is the place to be if you want to learn, and the support is here to help you through change. I want to go on to level 4 then get some work experience and see what happens after that. One day I would love to own a small bar-bistro-café run by me and my family, or maybe do some catering but I now know that I really like to be amongst people.”
I’m a people person and my nature is approachable and gentle so I think my hospitality manner is natural.
“I’m a people person and my nature is approachable and gentle so I think my hospitality manner is natural.”
“This course is a gateway to more interaction with different types of people. I didn’t know many people here but the other students and tutors made me feel comfortable. A café is opening here at our campus and I’m hoping to get on board there. The experience could lead me to other places.”
“At the moment I’m just finding my way but I trust the process to unfold. I love to meet new people and tell them about our area here and that feels like part of my future in hospitality.”
The paperwork was a bit of a challenge but the tutor helped me, plus I went home and studied in the evenings - and I...
“I did this course because I love coffee and want to be a barista. I got curious when I saw people making coffee and wanted to learn more. I finished the course and now work three days a week at the campus café and am looking online for further training and work.”
“I used to be a butcher then was working nights stacking shelves at the supermarket when I found this course on the internet. Working at night was too hard on my son and on my body clock.”
“The world of coffee is a whole new experience for me and I’m as keen as. I was there 100% and never had a day off. The paperwork was a bit of a challenge but the tutor helped me, plus I went home and studied in the evenings - and I finished top of the class. I was amazed that I did so well. When I started I didn’t even know what a power point presentation was.”
“I was the oldest in the class and I’d give the others heaps of stick as a bit of a class clown. I’m ready now to get a fulltime job as a barista or something else to do with coffee but I have to be patient. In the meantime I get to make coffee here at NorthTec – and still give the students stick.”
“Studying at NorthTec is great, especially the location of the campus and the tutors. When you have nice, friendly...
I’ve grown and learnt a lot with my training and ultimately would love to work in a bigger place with more chefs so I...
“I’ve been working here in hospitality since I was 15 years old and had no interest in being a chef until a young passionate chef inspired me as to what is possible. I then started studying, first at level three and then to my level 5 Diploma.”
“During my training I particularly loved working with the international students and being exposed to different foods and skills. I was working six days a week in Dargaville all the time I was studying in Whangarei because I didn’t want a student loan, so time management was a real discipline. I finished in late 2016.”
“I am now working at the Coasana Restaurant in Te Awamutu. My boss here has taught me a lot about different foods and I feel that I am constantly upgrading my skills.”
“I would love to work in a bigger place with more chefs so I can continue to learn on the job and be exposed to food and experiences that are new to me.”
The NorthTec training was exactly what I needed for my work here. I am familiar with the processes and now my...
“I’m working as Demi-Chef de Partie at The Quay in the Town Basin. It is in Cuisine Magazine’s top 100 New Zealand restaurants and one of only two in Northland on that list. It is number one in desserts – and I love making desserts. My tutor told me about this place and I started as a kitchen hand for a month when I was still studying. In that time I was also helping the chefs with prep work, and then I was offered full time work as Commis Chef once I finished my study.”
“Everything from my NorthTec training is relevant here. I loved the course emphasis on a mix of cultures and I was able to research food from my own Indian culture. We got to research then create our own dish, practise and trial it, and if it was good it went on the hospitality service menu. We had practical experience catering for events that involved team work preparing, making, and plating the dishes.”
“The tutors also encouraged us to enter competitions like the Live Dessert competition where we had 60 minutes to make a dessert. Our final level 5 assessment involved three days of making and presenting food, and I was later selected as the representative for the NZQA course assessment interviews.”
“The NorthTec training was exactly what I needed for my work here. I am familiar with the processes and now my confidence has grown a lot. I’ve already created a new dessert that has been added to The Quay’s menu. I love the work here and I’m now starting to explore other areas of the kitchen including making entrees.”