Aspiring master chefs at Cire Community School’s Yarra Junction campus are cooking up a storm with the opening of a new hospitality training centre.
Non-for-profit organisation Cire Services invested over $600,000 in the project as a demonstration of its commitment to providing career pathways for students and the broader community.
Cire CEO Gus Seremetis described the project as a stimulus and positive outcome for the whole region, especially given the impact of Covid-19.
“Cire Community School offers vulnerable young people a positive alternative to mainstream education,” she said.
“The new centre has given our students so much to look forward to and also provides the community with a new resource to create employment pathways, community and social interaction, connection and support.
“We are now in an economic recession but we still need to look forward and give our young people hope in the future.”
The teacher responsible for hospitality training at the school, Ian Seppings, said the new facility provides students with exciting opportunities for learning real life hospitality skills.
“The students helped unpack the equipment and set up the training stations which has given them real ownership and a new sense of pride…I’ve never seen students so enthusiastically wash, dry and put away their dishes,” he said.
Yarra Ranges Tourism (YRT) CEO Simon O’Callaghan said crisis situations highlighted the need to have a professional and skilled workforce.
“Hospitality and tourism is a big part of our local economy and we welcome any initiative that encourages local young people to consider careers in the sector, rather than viewing it as a short term opportunity,” he said
“I would encourage YRT’s partners to support Cire’s initiative in whatever way they can and particularly through work placement opportunities and full-time employment.”
The facility comprises a state of the art commercial kitchen with eight fully-equipped training stations to accommodate up to 15 students.
It also has a coffee machine area for barista training, an outdoor deck and landscaped gardens, with vegetable beds, to support the hospitality program’s emphasis on ‘paddock to plate’ and healthy eating.
It is understood the facility will eventually be used to cater for functions and events and the deck could provide a gathering space for a social enterprise.