Trial-a-trade Day at William Angliss TAFE
A career in chocolate-making, baking and even butchery has never looked as enticing as it did at the William Angliss Institute's (new window) Trial-a-Trade day on Saturday 20 March 2010.
The centre for Hospitality, Tourism and the Culinary Arts on La Trobe St in Melbourne was more like Willy Wonka's chocolate factory than an institute of TAFE when it opened its doors to 109 very excited 14-18-year-olds.
The annual event is a chance for young people to get a sneak peek into the food and hospitality industries. There were none of the boring speeches or lecturers flogging course guides you'd normally get at a TAFE or university open day, however.
Instead these budding chefs and maitre d's were quickly given uniforms and divided into groups for five hours of hands-on experience in everything from truffle-making to baking bread and setting the table for lunch.
The chocolatiers of tomorrow
In the confectioner's department it was a chocolate-lover's dream come true.
Surrounded by every type of sweet treat imaginable, some of the 30 wannabe chocolatiers couldn't believe their luck when their teacher-for-the-day showed them how to make rocky roads and gooey truffles.
Others came very close to drooling when they started moulding their own chocolate bunnies, taking it in turns to decorate them with edible glitter.
And a few other students dipped their fingers in the melted chocolate when they thought no-one was looking.
Sarah, 16, said it was one of the best days of her life and not just because she got to take a pile of free chocolate home.
"I had a ball making things out of chocolate. It was a great opportunity for me see if I would enjoy a career in chocolate-making some day in the future. And if I was any good at it," she said.
The bakers of tomorrow
Down the hall, the bakers of tomorrow were just adding the finishing touches to their cupcakes.
They'd already baked their own bread and made lamingtons. All that was left to do was put the buttercream icing on their cupcakes.
The choice of icing colour was endless, and with literally a rainbow in front of them, some decided to see how many different colours of icing they could get onto one tiny cupcake.
While most of the students had never had any formal cooking lessons their teacher, Greg Williams, wasn't treating them like babies.
Instead he controlled the cupcake icing with military precision, making sure his budding bakers were being as neat and tidy as a group of teenagers could possibly be.
"The Trial-a-Trade day is a fantastic way for the kids to pick up skills in baking, bread production and most importantly health and safety procedures," Mr Williams said.
"I show them how to do things first but then they actually got to try making bread or cupcakes by themselves. They've even made their own fancy bread rolls today."
The waiters and hoteliers of tomorrow
The Trial-a-Trade day isn't just for wannabe chefs and bakers, though.
Potential hoteliers and waiters also got to experience a day-on-the-job during the event, setting up one of the conference rooms for lunch.
Sure, it may have only been for their fellow students, but these young people checked and double-checked that every napkin, plate and glass was perfectly placed.
Alex, 17, said he wanted to do the hospitality side of the Trial-a-Trade day because he'd always been interested in working behind the scenes at a hotel.
"I loved that show Las Vegas and thought I'd better check it out and see what it's like," he said. "Now I'm convinced it's the perfect job for me. I had so much fun today!"
Discovering career pathways
This is the third year the William Angliss Institute has held the Trial-a-Trade day.
In a press release, the Institute's Culinary and Food Processing Manager Gordon Talty said the feedback from young people had been astounding.
"It's a fun way for students to not only pick up basic skills but also to gain a realistic impression of the industry," he said.
"It's also an ideal opportunity for youngsters to follow their passion, discover a career pathway or even realise a talent they never knew they had."
If you want to be part of the Trial-a-Trade day in 2011, you have to be quick. Events Coordinator Heng Le said for the 2010 event they were bombarded with more students than there were places.
"We printed flyers and went on the radio, but we really didn't have to. We were booked out months ago," he said.
"It's not really a surprise though. There's nothing like Trial-a-Trade and the hands-on look it provides young people interested in cooking and hospitality."
So if you're dreaming of being the next Gordon Ramsay or running a Hilton hotel, check out the William Angliss Institute's website (new window) and keep an eye out for the next Trial-a-Trade day. Who knows? You might discover a passion you never knew you had!
Check out our Career profiles and Apprenticeships & traineeships sections for more information about getting a job in the hospitality industry, and our TAFE & training section for more about studying at TAFE. For more articles about Work and study, check out our Articles archive.
Articles Written by Elisa
The content of these stories and articles are provided for information and entertainment purposes only. The views expressed are those of our roving reporters/editorial team members and do not necessarily reflect those of the Victorian Government. While every endeavour is made to ensure the currency, accuracy and authenticity of content, it can not be guaranteed. The Victorian Government does not accept any liabilities for any loss, damage, cost or expense you or others might incur as a result of the information or advice (or the use of it) on this website or in the articles. People using the site should undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of its content.