#NationalSkillsWeek #Apprenticeships #Traineeships #MoreThanYouKnow

The next of our interviews is with Ashleigh Patterson – Recruitment & HR Consultant with Hospitality Group Training.

Q. What first got you interested in wanting to do an Apprenticeship?

My passion for cooking and desire to be an apprentice chef came at a very early age; simply from being surrounded by lots of family with an interesting and influential cultural mix. Many gatherings filled with new and cultivating surprises – the table laden with the colour and smells of different countries and favorite dishes handed down by someone special – creating a memorable imprint and a life changing impression on me. I spent many years (from an early age) finding my niche, and gained specific knowledge through many different avenues of industry experience whilst holding tight to my love of articulate refined cooking and beautifully plated food.

Q. When did you start your apprenticeship/which qualification?

Q. How long were you working at your chosen trade?

I began my apprenticeship with Hospitality Group Training in 2006 when I was 16. I was lucky enough to know exactly what career path I wanted to follow and left school to begin an apprenticeship in commercial cookery.

I was fortunate to work under some of the country’s best chefs throughout my apprenticeship and beyond. I trained under the captain of The Australian Culinary Olympic team for several years, I cultivated my love and burning desire to travel the country and then the world to open up as much learning opportunity as possible.  I worked at two Michelin star Restaurant D.O.M in Brazil, then returning to Melbourne and gaining positions at several successful venues working with some of the most influential chefs. I returned to Perth in 2015 reestablishing Kitsch as a competitive venue in Perth and mixing my cultural knowledge with my contemporary refined flare.

I have been a chef for 11 years now and am still heavily connected to the trade through my position at Hospitality Group Training.

Q. Is there anything you would tell your younger self that you know now?

Knowing all I know now about the culinary world I would tell my younger self to have more courage and back yourself.

Q. When did you start in your current role?

Q. Why the transition to your current role?

I started with Hospitality Group Training as a Recruitment and HR Consultant in 2016. I transitioned from the kitchen to this role for many reasons, one of which was to have more time with my family. I always wanted to stay close to hospitality and my role with HGT allows me to remain heavily connected to the industry I love, while allowing me to still have an influence on the up and coming chefs.

Q. What’s a typical work week involve?

My week involves accepting applications for new apprentice chefs and matching them to their perfect kitchen. This allows me to meet talented budding chefs with a desire to enter the culinary world and arranging apprentice positions for them in some of Perth’s top restaurants, cafes and hotels.

Q. What is the most challenging aspect of your role?

Q. What about the greatest joy?

What I enjoy most about my role is meeting the young people who have as much drive and passion for cooking as I do. I find it particularly rewarding that I have played a part in launching their culinary career.

What I find the most challenging about this role is meeting the peaks and troughs of the industry. As with any industry there are quiet and busy periods of the year but with the exciting development of several new hotels, the new Perth stadium and all of the new eating places popping up this could soon be a thing of the past.

Q. What’s the one thing you learned as an apprentice that you transfer to every apprentice your work with?

As an apprentice I learnt to always ask questions, even 11 years later I’m still asking questions about various food trends and I am learning new things every day. We are incredibly lucky in the hospitality industry because we get to continuously learn and discover exciting new things. I feel it is important to improve yourself and gain knowledge so my advice to the next generation of chefs is to ask questions and take in as much as possible.

Q. What would you like to achieve in your current role?

In my current role I would like to be able to influence a change in how apprentices are viewed and be a part in growing the numbers of people coming through the trade and keeping the culinary industry strong and respected in Perth.   I would like to be more hands on with apprentices and young chefs.

Our thanks go to Ashleigh for taking the time to participate in our interviews for #National Skills Week.

For further information about a career within the Hospitality industry you can contact HGT at http://www.hgtwa.com.au