Letters: Region suffers as training kitchens stand idle

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Apprentice chefs in the south-west are having to travel to Geelong for their TAFE classes and access to commercial training kitchens. File shot: Queensland TAFE.

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #8F9F59;”] D [/dropcap]ear Editor,

I am writing to you on behalf of many voices within South West Victoria regarding an issue that can no longer be ignored.

Quality training for those in our local community who wish to fulfil their dream of becoming a successful chef in our region is out of reach.

Our hospitality industry is growing in leaps and bounds, but trained professionals are nowhere to be found.


We no longer offer cookery students a place to blossom and learn paramount skills here in Warrnambool or surrounds.

How do I know this? I drop my partner off at the Warrnambool train station each Monday morning at 5:30am to go to the city of Geelong to attend the Gordon TAFE to fulfil her dreams.

This has serious consequences.

Serious consequences for individuals, industry and the communities here within South West Victoria.

I hear of many people from Warrnambool, Portland, Hamilton, Horsham who work within the industry and then have to source the time, energy and money to travel to the city of Geelong to the Gordon TAFE to undertake their full day cookery classes.

Safety and knowledge for the student, productivity for the local food establishment, and long term community benefit are all suffering from cookery training no longer being offered through South West TAFE.

A once bustling TAFE restaurant now sits empty. Another industrial-sized kitchen at Brauer College sits awaiting eager hands once more. Two ‘A’ class facilities left to gather dust and cobwebs.

We are a progressive and fast growing city and region. We must demand quality tertiary education for those who wish to better themselves. We have an obligation to individuals, industry and the community to provide high level training and skills within our fast growing and highly popular food and hospitality industry here in this region.

No longer as a community can we remain complacent with this current situation.

Action is needed now before we all become losers in this current no winner scenario.

Roxanne Thomson, Warrnambool.

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2 thoughts on “Letters: Region suffers as training kitchens stand idle”

  1. The real reason “trained professionals are nowhere to be found” is because the financial rewards for working long stressful hours over split shifts are minimal. Most commercial cooks I have known in my 20 years in the industry have left to do other professions. With the award wage rate as a qualified commercial cook not even hitting $20 per hour, it’s little wonder most people get sick of the indiatry and search for a fairer paying career. A plumber or electrician qualifying in their trade after an apprenticeship of the same length can earn 3 or 4 times the rate of a qualified cook. Most cooks would get paid more if they dropped their knives and worked as a cleaner in the kitchen they’ve left.
    And, may I add, it’s not the restauranteurs who are ripping off their employees. It’s the price people are willing to pay for prepared and served food in this highly competitive industry.

    1. I see this letter as a cry for help, for change to our local facilities. Apprentices aren’t receiving the training they need in their local area. South west Tafe is not running the course they used to, now they only offer ‘on the job training’ and from experience this training is not enough for young chefs to make it big time in the industry! The only other option is to travel to Geelong to do their training there. I’ve done training both in Warrnambool, when they offered the original training, but decided to complete my apprenticeship in Geelong when I found out they were not offering it in my final year. I’ts just disappointing that Warrnambool has these amazing facilities that are now no longer used in a way the apprentices deserve. Reading out of a book and answering a few questions is how our young chefs are now qualifying, instead of cooking in commercial kitchens at tafe, learning each unit with practical assessments and hands on experience. There’s a difference between reading how to clean and prepare a sirloin, and actually putting it to practise.

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