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Irene chose to study Cookery at NorthTec Kaitaia because she found out it was run by her own iwi – Ngati Kuri.
“I started last year in the NZ Certificate in Food and Beverage and continued this year with a NZ Certificate in Cookery because I didn’t want to leave! I love it here! I’ve met so many different people here – you build really good relationships with people and good networks. I was able to get a job at the Beachcomber Restaurant through my tutor’s contacts.
“This programme has really helped to prepare me for the hospitality industry. I’ve been taught so I can walk into the five-star restaurant The Beachcomber and know what I’m doing. I have a thorough base knowledge of everything I need to bring to the workplace because we do practical learning 2 days a week at Kaitaia College.
“The tutor is what makes this programme so special. She has so many different teaching styles and will help us understand something by using humour and then asking us questions. Our class is like a family, we all care about each other and try and motivate each other. This is such a good programme! It is so much fun and everyone makes you feel so welcome."
When Irene’s Grandparents passed away when she was 15, she was determined to do them proud. After attending Te Rangi Aniwaniwa in Kaitaia and then transferring to Mahurangi College – it was a shock for Irene. She persevered and achieved NCEA Level 3 by the time she had completed Year 11.
“My aim is to keep studying. I am passionate about cooking, I like that it brings people closer together and I love that wherever you go you can taste different flavours, depending on where people are from. I want to become a chef and teach others to cook – pass my knowledge to the next generation. I want to travel the world and share my kai with everyone!”
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.
“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.”
“Having worked with people in the industry that had come through NorthTec’s Cookery programme, I have seen first-hand...
“I will be fit and ready for a job in hospitality after this course.”
“I will be fit and ready for a job in hospitality after this course. I really enjoy learning the practical side – actually setting up for events like the Northland Regional Council’s Environmental Awards – because it gives me the skills and everything I need to know to prepare me for the industry.”
“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.”
I’ve gone from being painfully shy to being confident enough to enjoy all aspects of hospitality work. The tutors...
“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.”